A Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic Model for the Prediction of 'Half-Life Extension' and 'Catch and Release' Monoclonal Antibody Pharmacokinetics.
ABSTRACT: Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) can be engineered to have 'extended half-life' and 'catch and release' properties to improve target coverage. We have developed a mAb physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model that describes intracellular trafficking, neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) recycling and non-specific clearance of mAbs. We extended this model to capture target binding as a function of target affinity, expression and turnover. For mAbs engineered to have an 'extended half-life', the model was able to accurately predict the terminal half-life (82% within 2-fold error of the observed value) in the human FcRn transgenic (Tg32) homozygous mouse and human. The model also accurately captures the trend in PK and target coverage data for a set of mAbs with differing 'catch and release' properties in Tg32 mouse. The mechanistic nature of this model allows us to explore different engineering techniques early in drug discovery, potentially expanding the number of 'druggable' targets.
Project description:Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are among the fastest growing and most effective therapies for myriad diseases. Multispecific antibodies are an emerging class of novel therapeutics that can target more than one tumor- or immune-associated modulators per molecule. The combination of different binding affinities and target classes, such as soluble or membrane-bound antigens, within multispecific antibodies confers unique pharmacokinetic (PK) properties. Numerous factors affect an antibody's PK, with affinity to the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) a key determinant of half-life. Recent work has demonstrated the potential for humanized FcRn transgenic mice to predict the PK of mAbs in humans. However, such work has not been extended to multispecific antibodies. We engineered mAbs and multispecific antibodies with various Fc modifications to enhance antibody performance. PK analyses in humanized FcRn transgenic mouse (homozygous Tg32 and Tg276) and non-human primate (NHP) models showed that FcRn-binding mutations improved the plasma half-lives of the engineered mAbs and multispecific antibodies, while glycan engineering to eliminate effector function did not affect the PK compared with wild-type controls. Furthermore, results suggest that the homozygous Tg32 mouse model can replace NHP models to differentiate PK of variants during lead optimization, not only for wild-type mAbs but also for Fc-engineered mAbs and multispecific antibodies. This Tg32-mouse model would enable prediction of half-life and linear clearance of mAbs and multispecific antibodies in NHPs to guide the design of further pharmacology/safety studies in this species. The allometric exponent for clearance scaling from Tg32 mice to NHPs was estimated to be 0.91 for all antibodies.
Project description:Monoclonal antibody (mAb) pharmacokinetics (PK) have largely been predicted via allometric scaling with little consideration for cross-species differences in neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) affinity or clearance/distribution mechanisms. To address this, we developed a mAb physiologically-based PK model that describes the intracellular trafficking and FcRn recycling of mAbs in a human FcRn transgenic homozygous mouse and human. This model uses mAb-specific in vitro data together with species-specific FcRn tissue expression, tissue volume, and blood-flow physiology to predict mAb in vivo linear PK a priori. The model accurately predicts the terminal half-life of 90% of the mAbs investigated within a twofold error. The mechanistic nature of this model allows us to not only predict linear PK from in vitro data but also explore the PK and target binding of mAbs engineered to have pH-dependent binding to its target or FcRn and could aid in the selection of mAbs with optimal PK and pharmacodynamic properties.
Project description:While glyco-engineered monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with improved antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) are reaching the market, extensive efforts have also been made to improve their pharmacokinetic properties to generate biologically superior molecules. Most therapeutic mAbs are human or humanized IgG molecules whose half-life is dependent on the neonatal Fc receptor FcRn. FcRn reduces IgG catabolism by binding to the Fc domain of endocytosed IgG in acidic lysosomal compartments, allowing them to be recycled into the blood. Fc-engineered mAbs with increased FcRn affinity resulted in longer in vivo half-life in animal models, but also in healthy humans. These Fc-engineered mAbs were obtained by alanine scanning, directed mutagenesis or in silico approach of the FcRn binding site. In our approach, we applied a random mutagenesis technology (MutaGen™) to generate mutations evenly distributed over the whole Fc sequence of human IgG1. IgG variants with improved FcRn-binding were then isolated from these Fc-libraries using a pH-dependent phage display selection process. Two successive rounds of mutagenesis and selection were performed to identify several mutations that dramatically improve FcRn binding. Notably, many of these mutations were unpredictable by rational design as they were located distantly from the FcRn binding site, validating our random molecular approach. When produced on the EMABling(®) platform allowing effector function increase, our IgG variants retained both higher ADCC and higher FcRn binding. Moreover, these IgG variants exhibited longer half-life in human FcRn transgenic mice. These results clearly demonstrate that glyco-engineering to improve cytotoxicity and protein-engineering to increase half-life can be combined to further optimize therapeutic mAbs.
Project description:The neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) is a homeostatic receptor responsible for prolonging immunoglobulin G (IgG) half-life by protecting it from lysosomal degradation and recycling it to systemic circulation. Tissue-specific FcRn expression is a critical parameter in physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling for translational pharmacokinetics of Fc-containing biotherapeutics. Using online peptide immuno-affinity chromatography coupled with high resolution mass spectrometry, we established a quantitative FcRn tissue protein expression profile in human FcRn (hFcRn) transgenic mice, Tg32 homozygous and hemizygous strains. The concentration of hFcRn across 14 tissues ranged from 3.5 to 111.2 pmole per gram of tissue. Our hFcRn quantification data from Tg32 mice will enable a more refined PBPK model to improve the accuracy of human PK predictions for Fc-containing biotherapeutics.
Project description:A major asset of many monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based biologics is their persistence in circulation. The MHC class I family Fc receptor, FCGRT, is primarily responsible for this extended pharmacokinetic behavior. Engagement of FCGRT with the crystallizable fragment (Fc) domain protects IgG from catabolic elimination, thereby extending the persistence and bioavailability of IgG and related Fc-based biologics. There is a need for reliable in vivo models to facilitate the preclinical development of novel IgG-based biologics. FcRn-humanized mice have been widely accepted as translationally relevant surrogates for IgG-based biologics evaluations. Although such FCGRT-humanized mice, especially the mouse strain, B6.Cg-Fcgrttm1Dcr Tg(FCGRT)32Dcr (abbreviated Tg32), have been substantially validated for modeling humanized IgG-based biologics, there is a recognized caveat - they lack an endogenous source of human IgG that typifies the human competitive condition. Here, we used CRISPR/Cas9-mediated homology-directed repair to equip the hFCGRT Tg32 strain with a human IGHG1 Fc domain. This replacement now results in mice that produce human IgG1 Fc-mouse IgG Fab2 chimeric antibodies at physiologically relevant levels, which can be further heightened by immunization. This endogenous chimeric IgG1 significantly dampens the serum half-life of administered humanized mAbs in an hFCGRT-dependent manner. Thus, such IgG1-Fc humanized mice may provide a more physiologically relevant competitive hFCGRT-humanized mouse model for the preclinical development of human IgG-based biologics.
Project description:Engineering monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with improved binding to the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) is a strategy that can extend their in vivo half-life and slow their systemic clearance. Published reports have predominantly characterized the pharmacokinetics of mAbs after intravenous administration. Recently, studies in mice suggest FcRn may also play a role in affecting the subcutaneous bioavailability of mAbs. Herein, we examined whether five mAbs engineered with the T250Q/M428L Fc mutations that improved their FcRn interactions, and subsequently their in vivo pharmacokinetics after intravenous administration, had improved subcutaneous bioavailability compared with their wild-type counterparts in cynomolgus monkeys. Similar to the intravenous administration findings, the pharmacokinetic profiles of our variant mAbs after subcutaneous injection showed improved half-life or clearance. In contrast, a clear effect was not observed on the subcutaneous bioavailability. We expect that while FcRn may play a role in determining mAb subcutaneous bioavailability, multiple biopharmaceutical and physiological factors are likely to influence the success of engineering strategies aimed at targeting this pathway for improving bioavailability.
Project description:A major challenge for the therapeutic use of many peptides and proteins is their short circulatory half-life. Albumin has an extended serum half-life of 3 weeks because of its size and FcRn-mediated recycling that prevents intracellular degradation, properties shared with IgG antibodies. Engineering the strictly pH-dependent IgG-FcRn interaction is known to extend IgG half-life. However, this principle has not been extensively explored for albumin. We have engineered human albumin by introducing single point mutations in the C-terminal end that generated a panel of variants with greatly improved affinities for FcRn. One variant (K573P) with 12-fold improved affinity showed extended serum half-life in normal mice, mice transgenic for human FcRn, and cynomolgus monkeys. Importantly, favorable binding to FcRn was maintained when a single-chain fragment variable antibody was genetically fused to either the N- or the C-terminal end. The engineered albumin variants may be attractive for improving the serum half-life of biopharmaceuticals.
Project description:Improved affinity for the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) is known to extend antibody half-life in vivo. However, this has never been linked with enhanced therapeutic efficacy. We tested whether antibodies with half-lives extended up to fivefold in human (h)FcRn transgenic mice and threefold in cynomolgus monkeys retain efficacy at longer dosing intervals. We observed that prolonged exposure due to FcRn-mediated enhancement of half-life improved antitumor activity of Fc-engineered antibodies in an hFcRn/Rag1(-/-) mouse model. This bridges the demand for dosing convenience with the clinical necessity of maintaining efficacy.
Project description:Immunoglobulin G (IgG) has an unusually long serum half-life in comparison to proteins of a similar size. It is well-known that this phenomenon is due to IgG's ability to bind the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) in a pH-dependent manner. FcRn binding properties can vary among IgGs, resulting in altered in vivo half-lives, and therefore it would be beneficial to accurately predict the FcRn binding properties of therapeutic IgG monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Here we describe the development of an in vitro model capable of predicting the in vivo half-life of human IgG. Using a high-throughput biolayer interferometry (BLI) platform, the human FcRn association rate at acidic pH and subsequent dissociation rate at physiological pH was determined for 5 human IgG1 mAbs. Comparing the combined FcRn association and dissociation rates to the Phase 1 clinical study half-lives of the mAbs resulted in a strong correlation. The correlation was also verified in vivo using mice transgenic for human FcRn. The model was used to characterize various factors that may influence FcRn-mAb binding, including mAb variable region sequence differences and constant region glycosylation patterns. Results indicated that the complementarity-determining regions of the heavy chain significantly influence the mAb's FcRn binding properties, while the absence of glycosylation does not alter mAb-FcRn binding. Development of this high-throughput FcRn binding model could potentially predict the half-life of therapeutic IgGs and aid in selection of lead candidates while also serving as a screening tool for the development of mAbs with desired pharmacokinetic properties.
Project description:System-wide quantitative characterization of human neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) properties is critical for understanding and predicting human PK (pharmacokinetics) as well as the distribution of mAbs and Fc-fusion proteins using PBPK (physiologically-based pharmacokinetic) modeling. To this end, tissue-specific FcRn expression and half-life are important model inputs. Herein, human FcRn tissue expression was measured by peptide immunoaffinity chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry. FcRn concentrations across 14 human tissues ranged from low to 230 pmol per gram of tissue. Furthermore, the FcRn half-life was determined to be 11.1 h from a human stable isotope labelled leucine pulse labeling experiment. The spatial and temporal quantitative human FcRn data now promise to enable a refined PBPK model with improved accuracy of human PK predictions for Fc-containing biotherapeutics.