Patent of the Week: Improving the Performance of Antibody Fragments

Patent of the Week

Antibody fragments, including Fabs, which bind to immune response-triggering substances, or antigens, have demonstrated utility in various research and diagnostic applications. However, their structure limits their use, so researchers have engineered a protein that can be tethered to Fabs to expand their functionality.

The inventors, including Anthony Kossiakoff, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago, have filed a patent application for the invention.

“This engineered variant possesses biophysical characteristics favorable for a number of applications. Ultimately, these results should enable more facile performance of this protein affinity ligand for a number of applications,” they explained in a paper published in the Journal of Immunological Methods.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and an award from the Chicago Biomedical Consortium. Kossiakoff and his collaborators, Brian Kay (UIC), Geoffrey Greene (UChicago), and Jason Brickner (NU), in 2012 received the CBC Lever Award in the sum of $2.3 million, which also helped establish the Center for Production of Affinity Reagents for Human Transcription Factors: Chicago Synthetic Antibody Pipeline.

Continuing on this work, the researchers in 2019 published an update describing improvements to the synthetically engineered recombinant antibody‐based reagents.

“A particularly powerful aspect of these engineered reagents is that other modules having myriad functions can be attached to them either chemically or through molecular fusions. However, these processes can be cumbersome and do not lend themselves to high throughput applications,” the researchers explained in Protein Science. “Consequently, we have endeavored to develop a platform that can introduce multiple functionalities into a class of Fab-based affinity reagents in a ‘plug and play’ fashion.”

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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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