FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

A novel platform for engineering blood-brain barrier-crossing bispecific biologics.

PMID 25070367


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) prevents the access of therapeutic antibodies to central nervous system (CNS) targets. The engineering of bispecific antibodies in which a therapeutic "arm" is combined with a BBB-transcytosing arm can significantly enhance their brain delivery. The BBB-permeable single-domain antibody FC5 was previously isolated by phenotypic panning of a naive llama single-domain antibody phage display library. In this study, FC5 was engineered as a mono- and bivalent fusion with the human Fc domain to optimize it as a modular brain delivery platform. In vitro studies demonstrated that the bivalent fusion of FC5 with Fc increased the rate of transcytosis (Papp) across brain endothelial monolayer by 25% compared with monovalent fusion. Up to a 30-fold enhanced apparent brain exposure (derived from serum and cerebrospinal fluid pharmacokinetic profiles) of FC5- compared with control domain antibody-Fc fusions after systemic dosing in rats was observed. Systemic pharmacological potency was evaluated in the Hargreaves model of inflammatory pain using the BBB-impermeable neuropeptides dalargin and neuropeptide Y chemically conjugated with FC5-Fc fusion proteins. Improved serum pharmacokinetics of Fc-fused FC5 contributed to a 60-fold increase in pharmacological potency compared with the single-domain version of FC5; bivalent and monovalent FC5 fusions with Fc exhibited similar systemic pharmacological potency. The study demonstrates that modular incorporation of FC5 as the BBB-carrier arm in bispecific antibodies or antibody-drug conjugates offers an avenue to develop pharmacologically active biotherapeutics for CNS indications.

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