Industry: Therapeutics for plasma cell malignancies
NovAb is exploring the biology of primitive, jawless, fish-like lampreys and hagfish as a model for plasma cell-specific antibodies to treat plasma cell malignancies in humans.
Unlike higher vertebrates, which use immunoglobulin-based antibodies, primitive jawless fish use diverse leucine-rich repeat-based antibodies called variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs). NovAb is using lamprey VLR antibodies as antigens specific to human plasma cells.
The company’s VLR technology has many commercial applications. Currently there is no FDA-approved therapeutic antibody capable of deleting long-lived plasma cells. A plasma cell-specific antibody could be used to treat plasma cell malignancies and antibody-mediated autoimmune and allergic diseases.