The University of Strasbourg

The team: Prof T Baumert, Dr M Zeisel, Dr I Fofana, Dr R Tawar & Dr F Xiao

Expertise: The team are internationally renowned for their work on HCV-host interactions and viral entry. They have made significant contributions to the field including the discovery of key viral and host determinants for HCV entry and neutralization, which has led to the development of first-in-class antivirals in the preclinical and early clinical phase of development. The team has developed and/or established a number of key supporting technologies, e.g. high-throughput neutralization screens, neutralizing antibody-resistant cell-cell transmission assay, infection of primary human hepatocytes, mechanism of action (kinetic assays) and toxicity assays.

Role in the project: The group are leading the production and characterisation of alternative anti-host antibodies with complementary and synergistic properties to provide an important back-up if toxicity or production problems of the lead antibodies appear. With P1 and P5 they are also determining the neutralising potency and breadth of anti-claudin1 and anti-occludin mAbs and determine their mechanism of action, potential synergy with the lead antibodies as well as their susceptibility to escape.