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Unlocking The Therapeutic Potential: Recombinant Antibody Service In Drug Development And Beyond

Jan 19th 2024

Unlocking The Therapeutic Potential: Recombinant Antibody Service In Drug Development And Beyond

When it comes to antibody technology, recombinant antibodies sit at the forefront. In recent years, recombinant antibodies have demonstrated an ever-growing importance in medical drug and therapy research and development.

With the development of antibody engineering and recombinant manufacturing, the arsenal of therapies against acute and chronic diseases has been dramatically enhanced, and therapeutic antibodies continue to play an integral role in this field.

In this post, we'll cover the roles recombinant antibody services play in drug development, presently and in the years ahead.

A Brief History of Recombinant Antibody in Drug Development

first-generation antibodies were derived from natural sources like animal blood.


The history of antibody engineering and manufacture in drug discovery originated in the 1970s and 1980s when scientists first investigated the prospect of using antibodies as medicines. As diagnostic tools, the first-generation antibodies were derived from natural sources like animal blood.

In the 1980s, researchers started working to establish methods that would allow them to produce recombinant antibodies that were made using genetic engineering techniques. These methods allowed for the controlled production of large quantities of pure and consistent antibodies.

This was a big step forward because it made it possible to make a lot of antibodies that could be used in preclinical and clinical studies.

Recombinant antibody services focus on developing antibodies and producing recombinant proteins. Their expertise in building and evaluating phage display antibody libraries enables them to provide efficient antibody discovery services. 1986 became the year muromonab-CD3, the first therapeutic antibody (mAb) medication, was approved.

This antibody was used to inhibit the immune system after organ transplantation; it is produced from hybridomas. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Rituximab (Rituxan) was approved in 1997 to attack CD20 protein in B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Since it was the first antibody medicine to be developed using recombinant technology, this was a significant milestone in antibody engineering and manufacture. Along with several other mAbs that came out in the years that followed, rituximab was the first mAb authorized for use in cancer treatment.

Since then, authorities worldwide have approved about 170 antibodies and antibody-based therapies, accounting for about one-fifth of new medications annually.

The Drug Development Process

For drug development, it is necessary to produce vast quantities of antibodies once the sequences are obtained.


Drug development services face productivity hurdles when developing novel drugs and getting them to market, including increased demand to move therapeutic products through the various phases more swiftly. Even though the drug research process is becoming more protracted and more expensive, the number of new medicinal product approvals has remained consistent.

The price tag of bringing a new medication to market in 2018 was USD 2.17 billion, up from USD 1.18 billion in 2010. Meanwhile, drug development has become a longer and more expensive process over the last two decades, taking an average of 10-15 years compared to 9.7 years in the 1990s.

Higher development costs and times can be attributed to several factors, such as stricter regulations, difficulties finding patients for clinical trials, and the industry's push for high-risk, high-reward research fields like oncology. Avoidable Experiment Expenditure (AEE), which encompasses all shortcomings and output challenges encountered during the design and execution of preclinical experiments, is an additional significant factor.

Preclinical research and development, which consumes approximately 42.9% of the total budget allocated to drug development, continues to significantly depend on experiments that involve essential biological reagents. Preclinical studies can have irreproducibility rates as low as 50%, which is concerning and costs the entire sector up to $48 billion annually.

Several variables cause AEE, but one of the biggest ones is using improper or defective reagents. As a result, about USD 17 billion can be attributed to subpar biological supplies and reference materials. Furthermore, this contributes to the lack of success in more than 36% of preclinical R&D experiments.

By optimizing workflows and increasing R&D efficiency, organizations could recoup approximately US$17 billion in extra expenditures by cutting AEE associated with biological reagents. Furthermore, prospective medications may move faster to clinical trials, expediting their progression along the research pipeline.

Contrary to the clinical stages of drug research, no oversight bodies like the FDA or EMA set rules for how biological products like recombinant antibodies are made or used. As a result, the efficacy of frequently employed biological reagents, such as antibodies, recombinant proteins, cell lines, and model systems, can vary based on the biological contexts in which they are utilized and produced.

Manufacturing process

For drug development, it is necessary to produce vast quantities of antibodies once the sequences are obtained. This is typically accomplished by cultivating substantial volumes of cells, such as Human Embryonic Kidney 293 (HEK293) or Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, which have undergone genetic modification to produce the targeted antibodies.

HEM293 and CHO cells possess a notable advantage over alternative host cells, including yeasts and E. coli, due to their exceptional capability of undergoing post-translational modifications. These modifications are of utmost importance in ensuring the proper folding and functionality of antibodies.

Large bioreactors help cultivate the cells, which are later supplied with growth stimulants and critical nutrients. After purifying the antibodies from the culture media using various purification techniques, they are prepared for in-vitro applications, preclinical, and clinical research.

Antibody optimization

Recombinant antibody production offers several benefits, including the ability to produce large quantities of quality-controlled antibodies and the ability to engineer diverse antibody structures and variations (Figure 3), including bispecific antibodies (bsAbs) and Fc-fusion proteins.

This makes it possible to optimize the structure of antibodies, helping increase their therapeutic efficiency by inserting mutations into antibody genes.

The purpose of BsAbs is to bind two distinct epitopes or antigens simultaneously. Among their many uses are inhibiting two different routes and rerouting particular immune effector cells toward tumor cells.

Fc-fusion proteins consist of the Fc segment of IgG antibody coupled with an extracellular portion of a target protein (e.g., enzymes, cytokines, or active peptides). Besides that, they have other valuable biological and pharmaceutical qualities.


The primary rationale behind combining Fc with a protein of interest that is physiologically active is its ability to prolong the plasma half-life. Recombinant protein and antibody providers have extensive expertise in producing recombinant antibodies in various formats and offer different service packages to meet a myriad of research and drug discovery demands. Humanization of antibodies is a crucial technology for optimizing antibodies. Among the several types of antibody drugs, humanized antibodies are the most common.

Human anti-mouse antibody (HAMA) responses neutralize therapeutic mouse mAbs and cause allergic reactions in individuals, limiting their clinical functionality.

The application of genetic engineering to humanize rodent monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) can mitigate their heterologous characteristics while preserving their affinity and specificity. In clinical settings, humanized antibodies feature enhanced therapeutic potency and safety profiles compared to mAbs.

As research and development into antibody engineering and production advance, new optimization strategies continue to emerge.

One example is that scientists can improve how an antibody binds to its antigen using artificial intelligence (AI)-driven affinity maturation done in silico instead of animals for in vivo affinity maturation.

Advantages of Recombinant Antibodies in Drug Development

Several crucial therapeutic potentials of recombinant antibodiesrender them indispensable for developing future medicines, offering substantial benefits in contrast to conventional polyclonal or polyclonal antibodies. Some benefits are better stability from lot to lot, a steady and expandable supply, and the fact that they prove helpful for antibody engineering.

Let's take a closer look at these benefits.

1. Exceedingly reliable - batch after batch

Biomatik focuses on risk-free antibody expression.


The remarkable engineering potential of recombinant antibodies makes them highly effective in identifying and eliminatingparticular types of cancer cells or viruses.

This capacity for modification enables the engineering of recombinant antibodies to possess enhanced specificity and sensitivity compared to monoclonal antibodies. It is possible for this engineering to result in increased antibody sensitivity and affinity, which enables users to circumvent the constraints of traditional methods of antibody production.

Compared to their more conventional equivalents, such as polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies made using the hybridoma technique, recombinant antibodies have several advantages, including the ability to be engineered, exceptional uniformity, and an unlimited yield that can be adjusted according to need.

The structure of hybridomas makes them susceptible to genetic drift and instability. This results in a higher likelihood of lot-to-lot variation or antibody expression loss. Conversely, recombinant antibodies are notoriously stable from batch to batch.

To generate recombinant antibodies, the light and heavy antibody chains require sequencing. Antibody sequencing ensures a remarkably dependable and regulated process and experimental outcomes that are consistently replicable.

2. Commercially Adjustable Production

After the successful sequencing process, production becomes the exclusive target of recombinant antibody manufacturers. While finding the perfect recipe for modifying antibodies may be paramount, you must not overlook the significance of reproducibility and bulk scalability.

Once the sequence is defined, the attention will turn to the amounts needed. The advantages of recombinant antibodies become apparent at this point. They can be continually replicated, and the right contracts ensure that producers always have the quantities and kinds of antibodies they need.

3. Rapid Production

The pandemic helped highlight how vital speed is today. Although the pandemic has brought additional attention to the significance of speed, the biopharmaceutical sector has historically operated at an exceptionally rapid pace.

While on-demand delivery has long been a need for laboratories and manufacturers, the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing reproducibility crisis have brought the need for rapid, on-demand access to highly specific antibodies into sharp focus.

It makes sense for labs and producers that work with (bio)pharmaceuticals to hire outside CMOs to handle important and specific tasks to keep supply steady. Since antibody expression and production are precise, they are good candidates for outsourcing to specialized partners.

Due to their singular concentration on generating and expressing antibodies, antibody expression companies guarantee the prompt delivery of any quantity of modified recombinant antibodies upon request. After all, time is of the essence.

Other advantages of recombinant antibodies

Animal-free in vitro processing: The procedure is carried out in vitro, allowing for improved flexibility and fewer resource requirements, all thanks to the procedure's agile technology.

High-throughput manufacturing: Compared to traditional approaches, which use hybridoma cell lines and animals for manufacture, this one is faster.

Premium quality: It can be constructed with high sensitivity, affinity, and specificity by simply refining the core genetic material.

What the Future Holds