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Monoclonals Inc., a biotechnology company established in 2016, aims to develop novel monoclonal antibodies for research and development in the medical field. Previously based in Pennsylvania, Monoclonals recently relocated to Ellsworth to utilize the resources included in Union River Center for Innovation’s Business Incubator Program, the growing biotechnology landscape in the area, along with funding opportunities provided by the Maine Technology Institute.

Monoclonal antibodies can be used to diagnose viral and bacterial infections, and also offer therapeutic treatments. These antibodies target and bind to a specific protein and can be used to either “tag” invading organisms in the body, or even to inactivate them. Some monoclonal antibodies have even been approved for the treatment of several forms of cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Asthma, Multiple Sclerosis, and Psoriasis. 

Photo by Kate Cough, Ellsworth American.

The company’s goals partly align with the mission of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) call for more resources to diagnose and combat Lassa Fever, a viral infection devastating around 500,000 people in West Africa every year. The virus presents the need for rapid and on-site diagnostic tests, which continues to only gain importance and urgency. In response to this need, Monoclonals Inc. recently proposed developing a rapid test kit for Lassa Fever, which would benefit potentially-affected patients in rural and decentralized locations with a rapid, point-of-care diagnostic test; while also reducing the current need to transport the infected sample and patient over long distances to a designated diagnostic center — which has the potential of further virus spread. 

In the future, Monoclonals Inc. hopes to implement their Lassa Fever diagnostic kit, fight viral and bacterial infections, and continue to develop antibodies for research and development purposes — leading to a better understanding of genes, proteins, and pathways leading to disease. The development of these methods and antibodies have the potential to lead to more effective therapies and diagnostic procedures.

Monoclonals Inc. is a member of the Union River Center for Innovation’s Business Incubator program, giving them valuable opportunities to continue their research and development in a resourceful and supportive environment. The Center houses a test laboratory and office space for the company’s use, reducing production and research costs associated with development and testing. A dedicated space to conduct business and research has been crucial to advancing both their business and their mission, while offering Monoclonals the resources needed to expand their research capabilities and facilitate business needs.