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USD Discovery District Anchor Tenant SAB Biotherapeutics Recognized for Ebola Treatment

VERMILLION, S.D. – SAB Biotherapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company and one of the University of South Dakota Discovery District’s anchor tenants, has developed a treatment that provides “100 percent protection against a lethal dose of the Ebola virus” according to a study published in “The Journal of Infectious Diseases.”

"SAB Biotherapeutics is on the cutting edge of biotherapeutics with their novel immunotherapy platform," said Rich Naser, Jr., USD Discovery District president. "This is the kind of groundbreaking science we aim to foster in the Discovery District to provide opportunities for students, researchers and faculty."

SAB Biotherapeutics develops human antibody therapeutics using its first-of-its-kind immunotherapy platform leveraging transgenic cattle (TcBovine™). The company announced in June it will center its corporate headquarters, research laboratories and cGMP biomanufacturing suite at the USD Discovery District and plans to occupy a second building with its commercial manufacturing operations.

“We're excited to provide the physical assets for these innovative emerging companies; we’re more excited to provide the workforce they need to keep growing,” Naser said. “The University is responding with new programs and certifications. In areas such as biomedical engineering, regulatory affairs and CGMP manufacturing, these companies need to bring new innovations and make a greater impact.”

The Discovery District, an 80-acre planned corporate and academic research park adjacent to the University Center in northwest Sioux Falls, will provide access to research facilities and infrastructure for research business development and foster collaboration for the commercialization of new technologies.

“The company chose to build our business in South Dakota because of the ability to get things done and move the business forward,” said Eddie J. Sullivan, SAB Biotherapeutics, Inc. president, CEO and co-founder. “We’ve now doubled in size since 2014, completed multiple successful clinical trials and are building our first production pharm near Canton. Clearly, it was a good decision.

The USD Discovery District is really the ideal place for us to continue to grow and spur additional bioscience development as well,” he added.

To produce the immunotherapy, Tc Bovine were vaccinated with the EVD antigen. Within a brief period of time, they produced significant amounts of fully human antibodies to combat the virus. Plasma was then collected, in the same way it’s collected from human donors, and purified to isolate the antibodies that become the treatment.

“Polyclonal antibodies are a powerful tool against emerging infectious diseases,” Sullivan said. “They are our body’s natural defense to combat pathogens. With our platform, we can rapidly produce large amounts of targeted human antibodies without using humans—the limiting factor in current convalescent therapies in responding to a widespread outbreak.”

The study was conducted at the Integrated Research Facility, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) and others.


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 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson 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 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News