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Antibody Basics

Antibody Drug Discovery Introduction

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were first described in the mid-1970s and there was great optimism around the clinical use of antibodies as “magic bullets” to target tumors. But this great hype gave way to pessimism as time went by. Antibodies derived from mouse induced unwanted immune responses in human subjects. Poor effector function in humans also limited murine Ab potency. Over the last 2-3 decades various technologies (display technologies, humanization, transgenic mice) have allowed the generation of Ab drugs that are better suited for the human immune system. As such, Antibody (Ab)-based therapeutics is at the center stage of drug discovery with antibodies being the fastest growing class of drugs. Antibodies are ideal for therapeutic interventions in part owing to their:

Given some of these factors, there is a robust increase in the development of human mAbs. This interest is also fueled by advances in technologies to generate antibodies - transgenic mice, yeast display, phage display etc. As a result there has been a major shift in focus of many pharmaceutical companies as they move from exclusive small molecule drug discovery to a broader portfolio containing both, chemical entities [small molecules] as well as biotherapeutics [large molecules including antibodies].

The webpages in this technical resource section serve to provide a broad overview of the discovery process for generation of Ab-based therapeutics, while discussing basic concepts around Abs and their production. Discovery topics will include target selection, target assessment & validation, screening, lead identification and optimization, leading up to candidate selection. GenScript’s service capabilities in recombinant antibody (rAb) production are provided where necessary.

The next section in this series is “The History of Antibodies”. To review, click here.

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