Michael J. Ricciardi

As a Ph.D. graduate student in the Laboratory of Dr. David Watkins in the Department of Pathology, my research focuses on the role of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and their ability to treat and diagnose a variety of diseases. Over the past decade mAbs have become one of the most researched classes of drugs due to their incredible specificity and tolerability. Recent technological advances in mAb development, including hybridoma technology as well as single cell cloning from memory B-cells and plasmablasts, has had an enormous impact on the development of these drugs. Utilizing this new technology, my mentor and I have recently co-founded companies for both the treatment (MABloc Therapeutics, LLC) and diagnosis (Z-Quick Diagnostics, LLC) of emerging infectious diseases including Zika virus, Dengue virus, and others. Additionally, I have founded MAT Biologics, LLC which has specialized in the acquisition and importation of disease state PBMC, plasma/serum, and tissue samples into the US.

Recently, I have seen the opportunity to apply my knowledge of mAbs in fields others than infectious disease, and I have found Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) as a tremendous opportunity for the utilization of mAb technology. Currently, there are very few treatment options. Moreover, existing options are generally poorly tolerated by patients and have limited effect on the disease after the first year. This inspired me to begin researching this disease in greater detail and co-founding another company, Liberty Biotech, LLC, where we have filed a patent for a mAb to target cystic cells in the kidneys of ADPKD patients. We hope to continue into animal models and partner with drug developers in the future to deliver site specific therapy.