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Single Domain Antibodies Targeting the S2 Subunit of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein

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Scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) isolated a panel of single domain antibodies (known as ‘nanobodies’), targeting the S2 subunit of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 virus. These nanobodies bind to a highly conserved region in the S2 subunit of the spike protein, suggesting the potential to treat current and future SARS-CoV infections. The NCI seeks parties interested in collaborative research and/or licensing to further develop these nanobodies as a possible treatment of COVID-19 infections.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • : COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Nanobodies, Camel Nanobody, Shark Nanobody, Vaccine, Infectious diseases, Therapeutic, Antibody, Ho
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing and co-development.
Description of Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide public health crisis with over 100 million confirmed cases and 2.4 million deaths as of February 2021. COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Almost all the neutralizing antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 that are in development recognize the receptor binding domain (RBD) on the spike (S) protein. Blocking the interaction of RBD and the ACE2 receptor on human cells is the first of the two critical steps for neutralization of the virus. However, the S2 subunit of the spike is also critical for viral infection and entry into human cells. It is highly conserved across many coronaviruses, including other SARS-CoV-2 like viruses. To date there are no antibodies targeting the S2 subunit.

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections
  • Standard antibody therapy
  • Delivery of nanoparticles


Competitive Advantages
  • Currently, only one antibody treatment received FDA-issued emergency use authorization for COVID-19 treatment.
  • Currently, no antibodies targeting the S2 subunit of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Potential to treat current and future SARS-CoV-2 infections.
  • Nanobodies are attractive candidates for intranasal spray therapy due to their small size, high affinity and high stability
  • Nanobody characteristics which could be a more effective treatment for the respiratory disease
  • Does not require intravenous administration


Development Stage
Patent Status
  • U.S. Provisional: U.S. Provisional Patent Application Number 63/271,854
Therapeutic Area
Wednesday, September 14, 2022