Ensovibep (MP0420) is a 'designed ankyrin repeat protein', or DARPin, that is engineered to contain domains that bind to the same epitope region within the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein RBD but with three different antigen-binding sequences. It is designed to bind to the spike protein with high affinity, with the aim of neutralizing the virus. MP0420 was developed by Molecular Partners for antiviral potential in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic [2
]. Preclinical data (unpublished as of March 2021) is claimed to support MP0420's potential efficacy as both a prophylactic and as an acute therapy. DARPins have properties that make them easier to maufacture, store, transport and administer compared to full sequence antibodies. Molecular Partners have partnered with Novartis to progress MP0420 through manufacturing and clinical development.
MP0423 is a second high-affinity anti-SARS-CoV-2 DARPin in Molecular Partners' pipeline. Like MP0420, MP0423 is tri-specific, but it simultaneously targets three different parts of the coronavirus spike glycoprotein.