Antibodies are key to helping the body’s immune system protect against disease-causing pathogens. Our bodies usually make our own antibodies but many people, including the elderly, very young children, and those who have other immune-related diseases, may have limited immunity or a compromised immune system.
Other therapeutic proteins
Antibody-based treatments called biologics are used to combat immune-mediated diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, psoriasis and others. Biologics constitute a promising approach to treating many diseases and represent a fast-growing area of interest in medicine.
A growing number of biologics that were developed and brought to market in the last two decades have lost or may soon lose their exclusivity as patents expire. Several companies are developing “generic” versions of these innovator or “originator” antibodies.
- Biosimilars are designed to replicate as closely as possible the originator antibody, with the same amino acid sequence, but are produced from different clones and manufacturing processes.
- Biobetter antibodies are therapeutic proteins that target the same epitope as a currently marketed antibody, but which have been designed to offer improvements over the original antibody.
- Biobetters may have optimized glycosylation profiles to enhance their potency or modifications that offer improvements in pharmacokinetics or side effects.
Medicago is developing the expertise and capabilities required to develop biosimilars – monoclonal antibodies that are highly similar to existing biologics and that will prove to be as safe and effective as the original or reference biologic. - MAbs. 2011 Mar-Apr; 3(2): 107–110.