NIH gives biotech company $300K to use AI to develop hantavirus antibodies

Ichor Biologics, a New York City-based biotech startup developing antibodies to treat infectious diseases, received a $300,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to specifically target deadly hantavirus infections.

Ichor's platform first identifies immune responses that protect humans from hantaviruses, then engineers antibody therapeutics to mimic those responses. The platform uses machine learning software to predict where in the body the antibodies will be most effective and to create high affinity variants of the antibodies.

The company has already developed two antibodies that were shown to be 100 percent effective at treating one of the most deadly strains of hantavirus. The NIH grant money will be used to develop broader treatments able to neutralize all hantavirus infections, which, since they are often fatal and are expected to proliferate alongside climate change and urbanization in the coming decades, have been deemed a potential bioterrorism threat by the NIH, CDC and Department of Defense.

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