In Vitro Antibody Discovery
We use established in vitro display technologies to discover antibodies and alternative antibody derivatives for use in translational and basic research.
Antibodies have become an integral part of modern therapeutics. The first monoclonal antibody (mAb) was approved for therapy in 1986, and just 35 years later, in 2021, the FDA approved the 100th monoclonal antibody product. The use of mAbs as therapeutics has been made possible by a better understanding of antibody structure, as well as technological advances in the isolation and cultivation of antibody-producing clones. Hybridoma technology was the first technique developed for this purpose and has since been used to produce numerous antibodies.
However, in vivo methods for antibody production have certain limitations. First, the antibodies obtained are of animal origin, which raises ethical concerns and makes them suboptimal for therapeutic use. Second, the exploration of novel antibody formats is hampered by the non-recombinant nature of these techniques. Third, the target range is limited by the tolerance of the host used for immunization, which excludes toxic substances and self-antigens.
As experience in recombinant DNA technologies grew, the field of protein engineering emerged and fostered the development of in vitro selection techniques such as phage display. Applied to antibody discovery, they opened the door to in vitro pipelines built on synthetic antibody libraries to circumvent the limitations of in vivo systems.