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A Three Monoclonal Antibody Combination Potently Neutralizes Multiple Botulinum Neurotoxin Serotype E Subtypes.


Human botulism is most commonly caused by botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) serotypes A, B, and E. For this work, we sought to develop a human monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based antitoxin capable of binding and neutralizing multiple subtypes of BoNT/E. Libraries of yeast-displayed single chain Fv (scFv) antibodies were created from the heavy and light chain variable region genes of humans immunized with pentavalent-toxoid- and BoNT/E-binding scFv isolated by Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting (FACS). A total of 10 scFv were isolated that bound one or more BoNT/E subtypes with nanomolar-level equilibrium dissociation constants (KD). By diversifying the V-regions of the lead mAbs and selecting for cross-reactivity, we generated three scFv that bound all four BoNT/E subtypes tested at three non-overlapping epitopes. The scFvs were converted to IgG that had KD values for the different BoNT/E subtypes ranging from 9.7 nM to 2.28 pM. An equimolar combination of the three mAbs was able to potently neutralize BoNT/E1, BoNT/E3, and BoNT/E4 in a mouse neutralization assay. The mAbs have potential utility as therapeutics and as diagnostics capable of recognizing multiple BoNT/E subtypes. A derivative of the three-antibody combination (NTM-1633) is in pre-clinical development with an investigational new drug (IND) application filing expected in 2018.

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