Patent of the Week: A Specialized Antibody Library to Accelerate Drug Development

Patent of the Week

Researchers have developed a highly-optimized recombinant antibody phage-display library to accelerate drug development.

Phage display is a technique that uses virus-infecting bacteria (bacteriophage) to determine if a molecule interacts with a specific protein. The technology – which won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry – accelerates the evolution of proteins which can be used to neutralize toxins or treat disease.

Still, selecting a recombinant antibody – a class of synthetic therapeutic proteins – to pursue as a potential new therapeutic requires significant effort and resources. To simplify the work, researchers including former University of Chicago professor, Shohei Koide, have developed specialized antibody libraries that streamline the search process.

In a paper published in PLoS One, the researchers said the library antibodies “have great potential for diagnosis and targeted drug delivery in cancer,” though the applications expand beyond oncology to other therapeutic areas.

“One of the most important lessons learned about cancer in the past 100 years is the understanding that each cancer is as unique as the patient. Effective treatment of the patient is linked to knowing which proteins… are actively expressed in the tumor,” the researchers explained in the paper.

“Probes that allow us to ascertain the molecular details of each patient’s tumors will greatly enhance treatment. Biopsies can be used to determine molecular details, but biopsy is invasive, not always possible and does not allow for the fact that the tumor may change characteristics over time or location. It would be preferable to be able to perform a noninvasive technique first followed by treatment.”

As an alternative, using synthetic antibodies – as opposed to human-derived antibodies – to determine these molecular details is not only less invasive, but is less costly, and maximizes the opportunities to generate an initial antibody hit against a target of interest, which can then be further genetically altered to produce a lead candidate to be potentially developed into a new drug.

The researchers said the long term goal is to develop agents “that can specifically target tumor cells for detection and delivery of toxins or chemotherapeutics.”

The library (tangible property) is available to license and ready for use in therapeutic, diagnostic, and research reagent development.

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// Patent of the Week is a weekly column highlighting research and inventions from University of Chicago faculty.

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