Abstract: Assembly of misfolded proteins into fibrillar deposits is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases. Developing effective therapies to these complex, and not yet fully understood diseases is currently one of the greatest medical challenges facing society. Slow and initially asymptomatic onset of neurodegenerative disorders requires profound understanding of the processes occurring at early stages of the disease including identification and structural characterisation of initial toxic species underlying neurodegeneration. In this review, we chart the latest progress made towards understanding the multifactorial process leading to amyloid formation and highlight efforts made in the development of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of amyloid-based disorders. The specificity and selectivity of conformational antibodies make them attractive research probes to differentiate between transient states preceding formation of mature fibrils and enable strategies for potential therapeutic intervention to be considered.
Abstract: Monoclonal antibodies are generally produced using a generic platform approach in which several chromatographic separations assure high purity of the product. Dimerization can occur during the fermentation stage and may occur also during the downstream processing. We present here simulations in which a traditional platform approach that consist of protein A capture, followed by cation-exchange and anion-exchange chromatography for polishing is compared to a continuous platform in which dimer removal and virus inactivation are carried out on a size-exclusion column. A dimerization model that takes pH, salt concentration and the concentration of antibodies into account is combined with chromatographic models, to be able to predicted both the separation and the degree to which dimers are formed. Purification of a feed composition that contained 1% by weight of dimer and a total antibody concentration of 1 g/L was modeled using both approaches, and the amount of antibodies in the continuous platform was at least 4 times lower than in the traditional platform. The total processing time was also lower, as the cation-exchange polish could be omitted.
Abstract: Nanobodies are antigen-binding, single variable domain proteins derived from naturally-occurring, heavy chain only antibodies. They are highly soluble, stable, and can be linked to build multi-specific formats. Several Nanobodies are currently in clinical development in different therapeutic areas, for both chronic and acute applications. For the former, prolonged exposure is achieved by half-life extending moieties that target endogenous albumin, while for the latter, non-half-life extended constructs are preferable. To demonstrate the general pharmacokinetic behavior of both formats, serum levels of seven intravenously administered Nanobodies were analyzed in cynomolgus monkeys, mice or rabbits. In monkeys, the total clearance of a monomeric irrelevant Nanobody was rapid (2.0 mL/(min*kg)) and approximated the species glomerular filtration rate, indirectly suggesting that the Nanobody was mainly eliminated via the kidneys. When linked to an anti-albumin Nanobody, a 376-fold decrease in clearance was observed, resulting in a terminal half-life of 4.9 days, corresponding to the expected species albumin half-life. Similar conclusions were drawn for (non-) half-life extended mono-, bi- and trimeric Nanobodies in mice or rabbits, suggesting that these kinetic principles apply across species. Applying this knowledge to species translation and study design is crucial for successful pre-clinical development of novel therapeutic Nanobody candidates.
Abstract: Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) monoclonal antibodies and TNF receptor ectodomain fusion protein are in clinical use to neutralize circulating TNF and ameliorate symptoms of many autoimmune diseases and pathological conditions with chronic inflammation. In this paper we present data to prove that reverse signaling, elicited by agonist molecules interacting with the membrane-bound TNF of myeloid cells, significantly contributes to the therapeutic effect of these anti-TNF medicines. Interaction of agonist monoclonals with cell surface TNF significantly attenuates the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and induces changes in the production of extracellular and intracellular signaling molecules. This phenomenon is not dependent on the Fc portion of antibodies as Fab constructs are as efficient as full antibody molecules.
Abstract: The development of in vitro antibody selection technologies has allowed overcoming some limitations inherent to the hybridoma technology. In most cases, large repertoires of antibody genes have been assembled to create highly diversified libraries allowing the isolation of antibodies recognizing virtually any antigen. However, these universal libraries might not allow the isolation of antibodies with specific structural properties or particular amino acid contents that are rarely found in natural repertoires. Purpose-oriented libraries specially designed to incorporate desired characteristics have been successfully used. However, the workload required for library construction has limited the attractiveness of this approach compared to the use of large universal libraries. We have developed an approach to capture synthetic or natural diversity into the complementarity determining regions 3 (CDR3) of human antibody repertoires using Type IIS restriction enzymes. In this way, we generated several libraries either biased in amino acid content or towards long CDRH3 loops. The latter were successfully used to identify antibodies inhibiting the enzymatic activity of horseradish peroxidase, whereas libraries enriched in histidines allowed for the isolation of antibodies binding to human Fc in a pH-dependent manner. These libraries indicate that tailored diversification of CDR3 is sufficient to generate purpose-oriented libraries and isolate antibodies with uncommon properties.
Abstract: We have previously described ProxiMAX, a technology that enables the fabrication of precise, combinatorial gene libraries via codon-by-codon saturation mutagenesis. ProxiMAX was originally performed using manual, enzymatic transfer of codons via blunt-end ligation. Here we present Colibra™: an automated, proprietary version of ProxiMAX used specifically for antibody library generation, in which double-codon hexamers are transferred during the saturation cycling process. The reduction in process complexity, resulting library quality and an unprecedented saturation of up to 24 contiguous codons are described. Utility of the method is demonstrated via fabrication of complementarity determining regions (CDR) in antibody fragment libraries and next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis of their quality and diversity.