Icosagen Cell Factory  

Eerika tee 1
Ossu kula, Kambja vald,  Tartu County  61713

  • Booth: 2136

Icosagen offers recombinant proteins and antibodies for diagnostic and research use. We bring modern recombinant technologies and 20 years of experience in pharma into the diagnostic field to develop and produce premium reagents. For recombinant protein production, we use our proprietary QMCF Technology that has higher productivity and efficient scalability compared with transient systems. Additional benefits of our technology are the ability to move onto stable minipool production and stable cell line development. Production with stable minipools is perfect for diagnostic use, as we are able to reach gram-scales per liter and can license out the minipool for in-house production. Icosagen Cell Factory also provides a wide variety of custom recombinant protein and antibody expression services. In addition, we offer polyclonal and monoclonal antibody development, as well as stable cell line development services. Icosagen is ISO 9001:2015 certified, and follows GLP guidelines.

 Press Releases

  • Icosagen's SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibody ELISA Kit Is Available for Evaluating Immune Responses to COVID-19 and Carries an IVD CE Mark

    The SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody ELISA test provides a qualitative in vitro determination of neutralizing antibodies of SARS-CoV-2 in human serum or plasma to either characterize obtained protective condition from previous encounter with the virus or the developed immune response after vaccination.

    Because it is possible that Covid-19 disease and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines may induce antiviral immunity only for a limited period of time, the SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibody ELISA kit allows to determine the duration and efficacy of antibody immunity. In addition, the test allows medical facilities to select highly neutralizing blood serums of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 disease, which then can be used to treat critically ill patients.

    Icosagen's SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibody ELISA kit has already played a key role in the development of our BioBlock® nasal spray, which has been developed in collaboration with Estonian researchers and entrepreneurs. BioBlock® is a natural formulation derived from bovine colostrum and contains bovine antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 virus. The current ELISA test will be further developed to detect the presence of protective antibodies against other rapidly spreading and severe SARS-CoV-2 strains, such as the UK (B.1.1.7), South African (B.1.351), Brazilian (P.1) and Indian variants.

    Recent studies have shown that antibodies to common virus strains currently present in Europe offer less protection against newer strains, especially to Brazilian and South African variants. Thus, from the vaccination strategy and epidemiological point of view, it is important to know which strains the Estonian population have protection and which strains have carry a higher risk of disease.

    Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ's SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibody ELISA kit was registered on 16 April 2021. With this, Icosagen has already launched another complete CE-IVD product (CE-marked in vitro diagnostic medical device) in Estonia.

    The test is intended for professional use only, as laboratory training personnel and special laboratory equipment are required. The development of diagnostics was supported by the Government of Estonia with €100,000 grant.

  • BioBlock® nasal spray is designed to serve as a prophylactic, supplemental measure to help prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reduce the infection rate, and avoid extensive restrictions. It is intended be used in conjunction with other preventive measures such as masks, hand hygiene, social distancing, as well as vaccination.  

    BioBlock® is a natural product derived from bovine colostrum collected from cows hyperimmunized with the SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein. Bovine colostrum is milk produced by cows within the first few days after giving birth that contains antibodies that provide passive immunity to the newborn calves. BioBlock® is produced from colostrum that, along with other naturally occurring beneficial antibodies, contains antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.  

    Professor Mart Ustav, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Icosagen, who developed the original concept for the product, emphasized that this is not a traditional pharmaceutical drug, but a locally administered antiviral product that works on the surface of the mucous membranes in the nasopharynx, where the early phase of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection begins. Based on laboratory tests, BioBlock® solution is able to effectively inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

    "It is a natural product sprayed into the nasopharynx, with a single administration dose containing 80 mg of bovine antibodies, which is 2,000 times less than in one glass of milk," professor Ustav specified. However, it should be noted that, although BioBlock® is lactose-free, it is not recommended for people with allergies to milk proteins.  

    Furthermore, according to professor Ustav, tests have shown that these antibodies are not only effective against the first virus strain that originated in Wuhan, but also against the new, more prevalent virus variants from Great Britain (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), and Brazil (P.1). It was studied both in biochemical and in BSL-3 laboratory live SARS-CoV-2 virus experiments at the University of Tartu, which confirmed its broad activity. Effectiveness against the Indian strain of the virus is currently being tested and determined.

    A clinical study has shown that the antibodies in BioBlock® nasal spray remain on the mucosa and provide protection for up to 4 hours.

    BioBlock® could be helpful as an additional preventive measure against the SARS-CoV-2 virus whenever or wherever social distancing is difficult and potential risk for infection is present—at home or work, in restaurants, schools, gyms, public transportation, or other crowded places.  

    Consortium of Estonian companies

    To develop, produce, and bring to the market the novel BioBlock® nasal spray, a number of well-established Estonian companies and universities joined together to form a consortium. The consortium includes the following: Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ; AS Chemi-Pharm; OÜ Teadus ja Tegu; Estonian University of Life Sciences (Institute of Veterinary Medicine and OÜ Eerika farm); and University of Tartu (Institute of Pharmacy, Institute of Biomedical and Translational Medicine, and Institute of Technology).

    Collectively, members of the consortium including Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ, Chemi-Pharm AS, and the Institute of Pharmacy of the University of Tartu have developed a precise recipe for BioBlock® that ensures efficacy and safety of the product.

    "Production volumes are growing every week, reaching hundreds of thousands in the coming months. In particular, we supply nasal spray to Estonian residents in Benu pharmacies and Chemi-Pharm e-store. The next step is to plan exports to neighboring countries first, then further afield,” said Ruth Oltjer, the founder of Chemi-Pharm.  

    For BioBlock® collaboration, please contact info@icosagen.com

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