Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and their derivatives are currently the fastest growing class of therapeutics. Even if naked antibodies have proven their value as successful biopharmaceuticals, they suffer from some limitations. To overcome suboptimal therapeutic efficacy, immunoglobulins are conjugated with toxic payloads to form antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) and with chelating systems bearing therapeutic radioisotopes to form radioimmunoconjugates (RICs). Besides their therapeutic applications, antibody conjugates are also extensively used for many in vitro
assays. A broad variety of methods to functionalize antibodies with various payloads are currently available. The decision as to which conjugation method to use strongly depends on the final purpose of the antibody conjugate. Classical conjugation via amino acid residues is still the most common method to produce antibody conjugates and is suitable for most in vitro
applications. In recent years, however, it has become evident that antibody conjugates, which are generated via site-specific conjugation techniques, possess distinct advantages with regard to in vivo
properties. Here, we give a comprehensive overview on existing and emerging strategies for the production of covalent and non-covalent antibody conjugates.
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