This technology includes the development of a mouse line capable of producing single-chain antibodies (nanobodies). Nanobodies, identified initially from Camelidae (including llamas and camels) but also found in cartilaginous fish, consist of a single variable heavy chain domain (VHH) that binds to specific epitopes. Nanobodies have equivalent binding specificity to antigens as antibodies but are more heat- and detergent-stable. The creation of nanobody-producing mice, termed nanomice, has the potential to accelerate the development of nanobodies against infectious diseases and other diagnostic and therapeutic uses.
Nanobodies can target epitopes that are not normally accessible to conventional antibodies. They can also be readily humanized and appear to be safe and have low immunogenicity in clinical trials.