The development of alternative therapeutic strategies to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-blocking antibodies for the treatment of inflammatory diseases has generated increasing interest. In particular, selective inhibition of TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) promises a more precise intervention, tackling only the pro-inflammatory responses mediated by TNF while leaving regenerative and pro-survival signals transduced by TNFR2 untouched. We recently generated a monovalent anti-TNFR1 antibody fragment (Fab 13.7) as an efficient inhibitor of TNFR1. To improve the pharmacokinetic properties of Fab 13.7, the variable domains of the heavy and light chains were fused to the N-termini of newly generated heterodimerizing Fc chains. This novel Fc heterodimerization technology, designated "Fc-one/kappa" (Fc1κ) is based on interspersed constant Ig domains substituting the CH3 domains of a γ1 Fc. The interspersed immunoglobulin (Ig) domains originate from the per se heterodimerizing constant CH1 and CLκ domains and contain sequence stretches of an IgG1 CH3 domain, destined to enable interaction with the neonatal Fc receptor, and thus promote extended serum half-life. The resulting monovalent Fv-Fc1κ fusion protein (Atrosimab) retained strong binding to TNFR1 as determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and quartz crystal microbalance, and potently inhibited TNF-induced activation of TNFR1. Atrosimab lacks agonistic activity for TNFR1 on its own and in the presence of anti-human IgG antibodies and displays clearly improved pharmacokinetic properties.
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