We aim to support the development of novel targeted therapeutics by providing relevant technologies such as in vitro antibody discovery platforms, antibody engineering techniques and advanced display technologies.
The immune system has two important capabilities: First, to distinguish between self and foreign, and second, to clear the body of foreign, potentially harmful molecules and organisms. Both capabilities are enabled by the complex interplay between cellular and molecular/humoral components. Recently, these powerful tools have been used to develop therapeutics that specifically target disease-associated antigens. Targeted therapeutic approaches are particularly necessary for the treatment of cancer, as cancer cells do not differ categorically from a patient’s healthy cells, but only in certain characteristics such as protein expression. Several targeted strategies are showing encouraging results in the clinic, including monoclonal antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), and cell-based therapies such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells.
These new therapeutic concepts bring several challenges. Potency, specificity, and safety are critical attributes for next-generation therapeutics and can be influenced by the affinity domain used to mediate target specificity. A major challenge is the identification and development of affinity domains that specifically bind the desired antigen with high affinity at a favorable site (epitope) and have low imunogenic potential.
To overcome these challenges, most current targeting strategies rely on antibodies, antibody fragments, or antibody derivatives to mediate specificity either by repurposing known antibodies or by identifying novel antibodies. The latter allowing consideration of critical binding features during the discovery process. Through the use of in vitro discovery and development pipelines, antibody domains can be selected that meet the binding affinity/specificity, stability, and immunogenic potential requirements for the intended application. These elements can then be readily used to label or manipulate a specific disease-associated cell structure (mAbs), deliver toxins (ADCs), or redirect T cells to malignant cells (CAR-T cells).