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Protein Eng Des Sel. 2017 Apr 1;30(4):291-301. doi: 10.1093/protein/gzw077.

Generation of human bispecific common light chain antibodies by combining animal immunization and yeast display.

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Institute for Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Alarich-Weiss-Strasse 4, D-64287 Darmstadt, Germany.
Protein Engineering and Antibody Technologies, Merck KGaA, Frankfurter Strasse 250, D-64293 Darmstadt, Germany.


Bispecific antibodies (bsAbs) pave the way for novel therapeutic modes of action along with potential benefits in several clinical applications. However, their generation remains challenging due to the necessity of correct pairings of two different heavy and light chains and related manufacturability issues. We describe a generic approach for the generation of fully human IgG-like bsAbs. For this, heavy chain repertoires from immunized transgenic rats were combined with either a randomly chosen common light chain or a light chain of an existing therapeutic antibody and screened for binders against tumor-related targets CEACAM5 and CEACAM6 by yeast surface display. bsAbs with subnanomolar affinities were identified, wherein each separate binding arm mediated specific binding to the respective antigen. Altogether, the described strategy represents a combination of in vivo immunization with an in vitro selection method, which allows for the integration of existing therapeutic antibodies into a bispecific format.


antibody; bispecific antibody; common light chain; high-throughput screening; yeast surface display

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