Droplet Microfluidic Screening and Sequencing Can Vastly Expand the Universe of New Antibody Therapeutics

Research published in Nature Biotechnology shows how single-cell microfluidic technology can rapidly reveal previously hidden immune responses, with potential applications in multiple disease areas including COVID-19

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., SHANGHAI, and PARIS – March 30, 2020 – Scientists at HiFiBiO Therapeutics, in a multi-year collaboration with researchers at ESPCI Paris – PSL and other organizations, have conducted experiments to illuminate immune system activity at the cellular level with the CelliGO™ platform, a novel droplet-based microfluidics technology that can facilitate the identification of potent antibodies with unique functional activities for therapeutic purposes, including antibodies against difficult targets. The proceedings are detailed in an article in Nature Biotechnology.

One can think of the immune system as a complex, constantly changing army with a reserve of billions of antibodies trained to recognize and fight the various pathogens it encounters. When the body’s own defenses face a new kind of threat that it has difficulties combating, medical science can arm the immune system by lending it therapeutic antibodies customized to help fight that new threat. However, current technologies limit the number of effective therapeutic antibodies that scientists can discover and enlist for help. The CelliGO technology can vastly expand the pool of novel antibody candidates by rapid high-throughput screening of millions of antibody-producing B cells. This deep immune repertoire mining approach enables the identification of more diversified therapeutic candidates, increasing the options to choose from to develop effective new treatments.

“Our CelliGO platform has evolved into an innovative and robust solution for screening millions of B cells from a variety of species within a short period of time to discover potentially superior functional antibodies from the deepest immune repertoire,” said Annabelle Gérard, PhD, Senior Director of Technology Advancement and External Innovation for HiFiBiO Therapeutics and lead author of the Nature Biotechnology article.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HiFiBiO has deployed the same CelliGO technology in an intensive effort to rapidly search for SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies. The voluntary humanitarian collaboration with leading hospitals and other institutions was designed to screen blood samples from recovered patients to advance a pipeline of antibody drugs to treat the virus. HiFiBiO is open to additional collaborations that identify neutralizing therapeutic antibodies and investigate viral effects on immune responses through single-cell analysis and patient immune response profiling.

“Our industry-leading single-cell technology platform enables us to provide comprehensive immune profiling analysis and discover large numbers of high-quality biotherapeutic candidates in an unprecedented way. In this time of urgent medical need, we are mobilizing quickly to collaborate with the scientific and medical community to identify new partners and scale our capabilities in order to accelerate the delivery of life-changing new therapies to patients,” said Liang Schweizer, PhD, President and CEO of HiFiBiO Therapeutics.

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About HiFiBiO Therapeutics

HiFiBiO Therapeutics is an emerging multinational biotherapeutics company mobilizing the human immune system to combat disease. The company integrates deep-rooted biological expertise with its comprehensive single-cell profiling technologies to discover and accelerate a pipeline of antibody drugs to treat cancer and autoimmune disorders. In addition, HiFiBiO Therapeutics aspires to address unmet medical needs around the world through open-innovation partnerships with industry and academia. The company features a strong global footprint with cutting-edge laboratories on three continents in Cambridge, Mass., Paris and Shanghai. For more information, please visit

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