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N Biotechnol. 2011 Sep;28(5):489-501. doi: 10.1016/j.nbt.2011.03.018. Epub 2011 Apr 5.

Antibodies in infectious diseases: polyclonals, monoclonals and niche biotechnology.

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  • 1Cangene Corporation, 155 Innovation Drive, Winnipeg, Man., Canada R3T 5Y3. jberry@cangene.com

Abstract

Antibody preparations have a long history of providing protection from infectious diseases. Although antibodies remain the only natural host-derived defense mechanism capable of completely preventing infection, as products, they compete against inexpensive therapeutics such as antibiotics, small molecule inhibitors and active vaccines. The continued discovery in the monoclonal antibody (mAb) field of leads with broadened cross neutralization of viruses and demonstrable synergy of antibody with antibiotics for bacterial diseases, clearly show that innovation remains. The commercial success of mAbs in chronic disease has not been paralleled in infectious diseases for several reasons. Infectious disease immunotherapeutics are limited in scope as endemic diseases necessitate active vaccine development. Also, the complexity of these small markets draws the interest of niche companies rather than big pharmaceutical corporations. Lastly, the cost of goods for mAb therapeutics is inherently high for infectious agents due to the need for antibody cocktails, which better mimic polyclonal immunoglobulin preparations and prevent antigenic escape. In cases where vaccine or convalescent populations are available, current polyclonal hyperimmune immunoglobulin preparations (pIgG), with modern and highly efficient purification technology and standardized assays for potency, can make economic sense. Recent innovations to broaden the potency of mAb therapies, while reducing cost of production, are discussed herein. On the basis of centuries of effective use of Ab treatments, and with growing immunocompromised populations, the question is not whether antibodies have a bright future for infectious agents, but rather what formats are cost effective and generate safe and efficacious treatments to satisfy regulatory approval.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID:
21473942
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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