Research

Indoor Biotechnologies has a strong commitment to research.  Our basic research programs focus on allergen structure, function and determinants of allergenicity (see more). The company also carries out applied research on allergen manufacturing and bioprocessing and on the development of state-of-the-art technologies for measuring environmental exposure to allergens, endotoxin, molds and other biologics (see more). 

Indoor Biotechnologies employs several senior scientists with a strong track record in research on allergic diseases (see Scientists and our list of over 200 Scientific Publications). This research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the European Union, government agencies and research foundations (Grants). In accordance with Federal and NIH requirements for Public Health Service funded research, Indoor Biotechnologies has developed a Financial Conflict of Interest Policy that promotes objectivity in research (FCOI).

Molecular determinants of allergenicity

Allergic patients produce IgE antibodies directed towards specific epitopes located on the surface of allergen molecules.  Our basic research program focuses on the molecular structure and function of allergens from diverse origin (mite, cockroach, pets, foods and molds) and on the identification of antigenic determinants on these allergens by X-ray crystallography and mutagenesis analysis.  Dr. Pomés was awarded an R01 grant by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 2009 and an Administrative Supplement from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Funds in 2010 to support this research (Grants).

Indoor Biotechnologies has collaborated with teams of leading structural biologists in interdisciplinary studies which determined the molecular structures of cockroach allergens (Bla g 1 and Bla g 2), dust mite allergens (Der p 1, Der f 1, Der p 5 and Der p 7), the peanut allergen Ara h 2 and the mold allergen from Alternaria, Alt a 1. We have also determined the crystal structure of allergen/monoclonal antibody complexes for Bla g 2, Der f 1, and Der p 1, and the structure and specificity of antibody constructs, including a Bla g 1 specific scFv from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (see Scientific Publications). 

Site-directed mutagenesis of amino acids involved in the allergen-antibody interaction leads to the expression of hypoallergenic mutants to be tested for IgE and T cell reactivity. Identification of amino acids important for IgE antibody binding is used for design of immunotherapeutic vaccines.

Indoor Biotechnologies has collaborated in these studies with structural biologists at the National Cancer Institute (Drs. Alex Wlodawer, Alla Gustchina and Mi Li), the University of Virginia (Dr. Wladek Minor), the University of South Carolina (Drs. Maksymilian Chruszcz) and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (Drs. Geoff Mueller and Lars Pedersen). We also collaborate with Dr. Judith Woodfolk (Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center, University of Virginia) on studies of allergen-specific T cell responses in patients with asthma.

Environmental detection technologies

Indoor Biotechnologies is a worldwide leader in development of allergen detection systems, from rapid tests that are easy to use at home, to ELISA and multiplex array technologies for precise measurement of environmental allergens in the laboratory.

The Ventia™ rapid test for dust mite allows assessment of mite allergen exposure at home in only 10 minutes. Indoor Biotechnologies has also developed state-of-the-art technologies for use in the laboratory. These include fluorescent multiplex arrays for indoor allergens (MARIA®), multiplex array for measuring markers of mold exposure. Currently, we are developing a high throughput immunoassay to monitor bacterial flagellin exposure in the environment. These projects are funded in part by Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (see Grants).

Indoor Biotechnologies Ltd participated in the 5th Framework Programme of the European Union CREATE project to develop purified allergen standards and to compare sensitivity, specificity and reproducibility of ELISA measurements for allergens (Contract G6RD-CT-2001-00582). Indoor Biotechnologies Ltd is also a Small and medium Enterprise Partner in the European Union FP7 funded iFAAM project (Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management). Our role in the project is to develop a multiplex array for food allergens that can be used in the food industry to monitor allergen contamination in food processing. The array will simultaneously measure peanut, egg, milk and shellfish allergens and is already developed as a working prototype.

Scientists

The founder of the company, Dr. Martin Chapman, was the first recipient of the Phadia Allergy Research Foundation (PhARF) Award in 1987 for work on allergen-specific monoclonal antibodies. Dr. Chapman’s research on allergens has been funded by National Institutes of Health grants, government agencies and research foundations.

Dr. Anna Pomés leads Indoor Biotechnologies basic research programs and received the PhARF award in 2002 for determining the structure of cockroach allergen. Dr. Pomés has been awarded a grant by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to support research on allergen structure. 

Indoor Biotechnologies has an ongoing program for research and development of new products. Dr. Eva King is the leader of our Immunoassay Group and coordinates the development of MARIA® products. Dr. Sabina Wünschmann is responsible for purified allergen products, including a range of purified food allergens.

Grants

Indoor Biotechnologies has received over $3 million in external research funding since 2006 and has active collaborations with research groups in academia and industry. Grants from the National Institutes of Health, the European Union, government agencies and research foundations, support our research on:

A. Determinants of allergenicity

Dr. Pomés was awarded R01 grant AI077653 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 2009, and an Administrative Supplement from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Funds in 2010. The aims are to determine the structures of major mite and cockroach allergens and allergen antibody complexes by X-ray crystallography. The structure of antibody binding epitopes is defined and site-directed mutagenesis is used to identify IgE antibody binding sites. Mutants are analyzed for T cell responses in mite or cockroach allergic patients. This research aims to develop hypoallergenic variants of allergens that may be used in new forms of allergen immunotherapy.

The main goal of the ARRA Award was to develop molecular diagnostics to measure IgE antibody binding to specific cockroach allergens, as part of a resource for collaborating with the Inner City Asthma Consortium. The project involved the production of monoclonal antibodies against cockroach allergens that will be used for the development of assays to measure IgE antibodies against cockroach allergens. A Research Associate position was also created as a result of this Award.

B. Development of new environmental detection technologies

Financial Conflict of Interest Policy

Indoor Biotechnologies has developed a Financial Conflict of Interest Policy (FCOI) in accordance with Federal and NIH requirements for Public Health Service funded research (42 CFR Part 50 Subpart F). This policy promotes objectivity in research and includes requirements for training of investigators, monitoring FCOI, reporting to NIH and ensuring compliance. Contact Dr. Anna Pomés if you have questions about this policy.

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