NIH Funds Influenza Research at USD Sanford School of Medicine and Sioux Falls Firm

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- SAB Biotherapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical development company in Sioux Falls, has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health for up to $1.42 million to advance its treatment for influenza.

The funding, specifically for the production and preclinical testing of its novel antibody therapeutic targeting influenza viruses, is a research collaboration project with the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. The project was initiated through the BioSNTR, or “bio center,” a research initiative in Sioux Falls for academic and industry research collaborations.

“The antigen we are developing contains a combination of four strains of influenza viruses, the same ones contained in the 2016-2017 vaccine. So this collaboration with USD is a significant one,” said Eddie Sullivan, Ph.D., president and CEO of SAB.

“This collaboration is a great example of how the BioSNTR links academic and industry researchers to address a specific scientific problem,” added Adam Hoppe, Ph.D., director of the BioSNTR, which is focused on bridging the gap between academia and industry to create a bio-economy in South Dakota through high-impact science.

Depending on the season, there are 3,000 to 49,000 influenza virus-associated deaths in the U.S. each year,” said influenza expert Victor Huber, Ph.D., associate professor in the division of basic biomedical sciences at USD, who studies immunology, virology and vaccinology and is leading this project at USD to test SAB’s treatment.

“SAB’s technology is on the forefront of treating viruses like influenza with antibody therapeutics that can complement vaccine efforts,” Huber said. “This funding is important to advance the development of solutions that address the rapid spread of viruses that continue to threaten human health in the U.S. and around the world.”


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News