SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Twist Bioscience Corporation (NASDAQ: TWST), a company enabling customers to succeed through its offering of high-quality synthetic DNA using its silicon platform, today announced that its customer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) published positive preclinical results using potently neutralizing antibodies as a potential therapy for preventing and treating COVID-19 in humans.
Twist Bioscience worked closely with VUMC to quickly supply a large number of synthetic genes and antibody fragments in specific sequences that resembled antibodies isolated from two people who had been sick with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The VUMC team and colleagues then tested the antibodies in small animals and non-human primates. The data from these studies were published today in Nature, with additional data published last week in Nature Medicine.
“We are moving very quickly to employ our knowledge of infectious disease and robust computational biology platform to identify new therapeutics for COVID-19,” said Robert Carnahan, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at VUMC. “Twist has been a key partner uniquely able to deliver the quantity and quality of DNA we need for our projects rapidly, in this case going from antibody extraction to neutralizing monoclonal antibodies in 18 days.”
VUMC has been working with Twist Bioscience since 2018 when VUMC received a grant from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3). The P3 program focuses on preparing for pandemics and specifically reducing the time required to develop protective antibodies from lab to field. The objective of the program is to go from outbreak to a clinic-ready therapeutic in 60 days, versus the standard timeline of one to two years. VUMC is now leveraging the learning from the P3 program to pursue therapeutic antibodies to treat COVID-19.
VUMC’s approach to identifying potential antibody therapeutics is unique. They extract the B cells from patients who have recovered from a viral infection, in this case COVID-19. The next step is to screen through all of the antibodies using proprietary bioinformatics and select thousands of antibody sequences that have the potential to effectively treat the disease. Twist then “writes” these synthetic DNA sequences base by base. The sequences are subsequently put into a recombinant antibody workflow to produce material for screening and selection in a few short days to identify lead antibody candidates for further development.
“Twist exists to solve difficult problems, to meet the needs of our customers who are truly changing the world for the better,” said Emily M. Leproust, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder. “The work that VUMC is conducting using our synthetic antibodies is exactly that – changing the world for the better by addressing this pandemic head-on. We are proud to support such incredible visionary research that has the potential to revolutionize the way pandemics are addressed.”
About Twist Bioscience Corporation
Twist Bioscience is a leading and rapidly growing synthetic biology and genomics company that has developed a disruptive DNA synthesis platform to industrialize the engineering of biology. The core of the platform is a proprietary technology that pioneers a new method of manufacturing synthetic DNA by “writing” DNA on a silicon chip. Twist is leveraging its unique technology to manufacture a broad range of synthetic DNA-based products, including synthetic genes, tools for next-generation sequencing (NGS) preparation, and antibody libraries for drug discovery and development. Twist is also pursuing longer-term opportunities in digital data storage in DNA and biologics drug discovery. Twist makes products for use across many industries including healthcare, industrial chemicals, agriculture and academic research.
Legal Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained herein, including without limitation the ability of the potently neutralizing antibodies to prevent and treat COVID-19 in humans, Twist’s ability to supply synthetic genes and antibodies to VUMC in the quantity and quality required by VUMC, the success of the P3 program in achieving its objective, VUMC’s ability to successfully select antibody sequences that have the potential to effectively treat COVID-19, are forward-looking statements reflecting the current beliefs and expectations of management made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other important factors that may cause Twist Bioscience’s actual results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the risks and uncertainties of the ability to attract new customers and retain and grow sales from existing customers; risks and uncertainties of rapidly changing technologies and extensive competition in synthetic biology could make the products Twist Bioscience is developing obsolete or non-competitive; uncertainties of the retention of a significant customer; risks of third party claims alleging infringement of patents and proprietary rights or seeking to invalidate Twist Bioscience’s patents or proprietary rights; and the risk that Twist Bioscience’s proprietary rights may be insufficient to protect its technologies. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to Twist Bioscience’s business in general, see Twist Bioscience’s risk factors set forth in Twist Bioscience’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q dated May 12, 2020. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Twist Bioscience specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.