Free Webinar | Engineering Optimized Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Therapeutics

June 30, 2020 | 1:00-2:30 pm EDT

On May 18, 2020, Centivax, Inc., the therapeutics spin-out of Contract Research Organization Distributed Bio, Inc., announced a significant advance in their mission to develop an optimized antibody therapeutic to both treat and prophylactically target COVID-19. U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, the Peter Kim Lab at Stanford, University of Texas Medical Branch/Galveston National Laboratory, the Temperton Lab at University of Kent, and Sino Biological have now each independently confirmed that multiple Centivax antibody therapeutic candidates are potent neutralizers of the pandemic coronavirus. These leads have been forwarded to in vivo testing.

Centivax was able to successfully engineer these potent therapeutic antibodies in less than 9 weeks by leveraging Distributed Bio’s breakthrough computational antibody engineering technologies. These talks will discuss the various crucial aspects of our preclinical drug discovery and development process that have enabled the engineering of these fully human and potently neutralizing antibodies, screened for binding kinetics, affinity, and epitope specificity and optimized for key therapeutic properties to best treat and prevent this novel pandemic disease.

1:00 Chairperson’s Remarks

Aishani Aatresh, Computational Immunoengineer, Distributed Bio, Inc.

1:05 Functional Assays to Test Potency of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibodies

Sawsan Youssef, CSO, Distributed Bio, Inc.

1:20 Dissecting the SARS-CoV-2 Proteome

Yuning Chen, PhD, R&D Manager, Sino Biological

1:35 The Role of Biosensing in Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Therapeutic Discovery

Sindy Liao Chan, Director, Biosensor/High Throughput Protein Interactions, Distributed Bio, Inc.

1:50 RBD Engineering and Antibody Discovery by Yeast Display

Jack Wang, Senior Scientist, Distributed Bio, Inc.

2:05 Combinatorial Engineering of Anti-SARS Antibodies to Recognize COVID-19 RBD, Using Tumbler

Shahrad Daraeikia, Senior Scientist, Distributed Bio, Inc.

2:15 Q&A

Speaker Biographies

Aishani Aatresh
Computational Immunoengineer, Distributed Bio, Inc.

Aishani Aatresh joined Distributed Bio in June of 2018 as a Computational Immunoengineer. She has primarily been developing Archetype, the computational arm of Tumbler, while collaborating on various computational initiatives to accelerate Distributed Bio’s therapeutics platforms and contributing to strategic partnerships and communication initiatives. At the 2018 SynBioBeta conference, she moderated a panel on the intersection of synthetic biology, machine learning, and automation; for SynBioBeta 2019, she helped craft Distributed Bio’s breakout session with fellow collaborators on innovating the 21st century of medicine and delivered a mainstage talk on her research for Archetype (publication pending). Aishani is a strong proponent for interdisciplinary scientific applications, advocacy, communication, and policy. She attributes her interest in immunology to her lifelong severe food allergies, a topic on which she has given a TEDx talk in 2017 (after which she founded TEDxSaintFrancis), conducted numerous science fair projects, and lobbied legislators on Capitol Hill for two bills. She is a freelance science journalist for SynBioBeta, having interviewed 2018 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Professor Frances Arnold and ghostwritten multiple articles featured online in Forbes. Previously, Aishani has interned at Driver, a former consumer-technology company for cancer patients, as a member of their lab operations team, and she has conducted research on aortic repairs with tissue-engineered blood vessels and porcine and Dacron alternatives at Duke University. She is a graduate of Saint Francis High School and is attending Harvard College for her undergraduate studies.

Sindy Liao Chan
Director, Biosensor/High Throughput Protein Interactions, Distributed Bio, Inc.

Sindy Liao Chan has extensive experience in biomolecular interaction analysis, epitope mapping, and high-throughput screening of protein-protein binding assays. She became part of the Distributed Bio team in 2019 where she leads a group of scientists providing core support for biomolecular interaction analysis to the discovery of antibody therapeutics. Her expertise is in label-free biosensor applications towards high-resolution kinetics and epitope binning aid in engineering of broadly neutralizing antibodies and broad-spectrum vaccines. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Davis, where she participated in research involving the genetic engineering of bilin biosynthesis in yeast. She also received a Master of Science degree in Chemistry with concentration in Biochemistry from San Francisco State University, where her research focused on the purification and the kinetic and mechanistic characterization of styrene oxide isomerase from Pseudomonas putida S12. Upon graduation, she joined Igenica Biotherapeutics where she was actively engaged in the discovery and development of novel antibody and antibody-drug conjugates for the treatment of cancer. She supported projects at every stage from hybridoma generation to antibody screening and characterization for prioritization and selection of lead candidates. In 2015, she joined the Pfizer Cancer Immunology Discovery Unit, formerly known as Rinat Laboratories. At Pfizer, she was part of the Biotherapeutic Design and Discovery Group where she supported biology, hybridoma and protein engineering groups in the discovery and development of large molecule immunotherapeutics by investigating antibody-antigen binding and other protein interactions in various label-free biosensor platforms. She also authored nonclinical pharmacology study reports of IND related to the binding characterization of several programs at Pfizer for regulatory submissions.

Jack Wang
Senior Scientist, Distributed Bio, Inc.

Jack Wang is the co-lead on the COVID-19 antibody engineering/discovery project. He completed his undergraduate degree at UC Riverside where he was trained as a protein crystallographer to study the XPB helicase DNA structure and dynamic during DNA repair. He was also a member of the Center for Catalysis in innovating new cobalt-based photocatalysts for radical, green chemistry in activating C-O bonds. In 2015 and 2016, he was an invited HHMI exchange scholar in David Baker's Institute for Protein Design at University of Washington to explore rationally de novo designed helical bundles to build high-symmetry, pore-like proteins for nanopore sequencing and to re-design protein-protein lattice interfaces for accelerated protein crystallography. Combining his interests in computational protein engineering and structural biology, he entered Yale for graduate school to study the conformation of GPCR G-protein coupling and attempted to alter its specificity by engineering many mini-protein modulators. He then transited to his first industrial experience at Surrozen to lead and to optimize high-throughput antibody discovery and protein engineering efforts against many receptors involved in Wnt pathway for targeted tissue regeneration.

Shahrad Daraeikia
Senior Scientist, Distributed Bio, Inc.

Shahrad Daraeikia is the lead on Tumbler antibody affinity maturation and optimization programs at Distributed Bio and the co-lead on the COVID-19 antibody engineering/discovery project. He also has been the project lead on engineering and discovery of bi-epitopic antibodies using scFv phage display and Tumbler affinity maturation; helped build computationally optimized scFv phage display libraries using diversity from the natural human repertoire; and developed the novel NGS barcoding system CherryBOMB for high-throughput barcoding of thousands of clones per run. Shahrad holds a PSM in biotechnology from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences and Chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Sawsan Youssef
CSO, Distributed Bio, Inc.

Sawsan has extensive expertise in Immunology with focus on autoimmunity and immuno-oncology, and a demonstrated record of carrying IO therapeutics into human trials. Sawsan received her PhD in Immunology from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, where her thesis work focused on using DNA vaccines for targeted suppression of specific chemokines and cytokines for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis in animal models. Sawsan then did her postdoctoral training at Stanford University in the Steinman Laboratory, where she focused on multiple sclerosis, exploring the inhibitory effect of statins on T cell differentiation and the reversal of neuro-inflammation in mice. This led to an investigator initiative Phase I trial STAyCIS that exhibited positive data. Sawsan also worked on the effects of other metabolic pathways controlling the expansion of pro-inflammatory T cell subsets such Th1 and Th17 in MS. In 2008 Sawsan Joined Rinat/Pfizer, Inc. where she helped established the immunology department and initiated several antibody therapeutic programs focusing on immuno-oncology and autoimmune inflammation (lupus, psoriasis, IBD, and MS). In 2013 she became the research project lead of Anti PD-1 (PF-06801591) now in Phase I (

Yuning Chen, PhD
R&D Manager, Sino Biological

Dr. Chen received his PhD in protein biochemistry from Ohio University in 2012 and completed his post-doc training in protein biochemistry and biophysics from The Pennsylvania State University in 2016. Dr. Chen is highly experienced in recombinant protein expression, purification, and biochemical characterization with an outstanding track of publications in top journals. He currently holds the position of R&D Manager at Sino Biological, Inc. and is responsible for strategic design of recombinant protein products development and custom project oversight.