Anti-NMDAR antibodies: diagnostic agent for autoimmune brain encephalitis

Lead investigator: Scott Dessain, PhD, MD

Unmet need

Autoimmune brain encephalitis (inflammation) associated with psychiatric manifestations make diagnosis challenging. In one form, the production of anti-NMDA receptor antibodies causes a condition termed ‘brain on fire’ (as described in a bestseller novel and subsequent movie). There is a need for diagnostic reagents that can definitively diagnose (or rule out) this specific disorder in patients who present with psychiatric symptoms.


Native membrane-bound forms of the NMDA receptor are reliably detected in CNS tissue by the LIMR huMab, and methods for use have been generated as a tool to diagnose autoimmune encephalitis caused by the production of anti-NMDA receptor antibodies.

Unique attributes

LIMR huMab recognize native configurations of the NMDA receptor on the tissue cell surfaces not visualized by other antibodies available to this antigen. These configurations overlap with those recognized by the autoimmune antibodies produced in the disease, enabling a diagnostic test based on competition with autoimmune serum from patients.

Clinical applications

Based on its unique attributes, LIMR huMab enable a diagnostic test for autoimmune encephalitis caused by auto-antibodies that bind the NMDA receptor.

Stage of development

Clinical proof of concept was demonstrated for the huMab and method in diagnosis of a patient confirmed to have anti-NMDA receptor-dependent autoimmune encephalitis (see references).

Intellectual property

IgG sequences will be protected pending commercial interest.

Collaboration opportunity

Development of a commercializable diagnostic based on existing clinical proof of concept.

Relevant publications


Institutional contact: George C. Prendergast, PhD, LIMR President and CEO, 484.476.8475, [email protected]

L2C Partners contact: Merle Gilmore, 610.662.0940, [email protected]