Resolving self-association of a therapeutic antibody by formulation optimization and molecular approaches.

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TitleResolving self-association of a therapeutic antibody by formulation optimization and molecular approaches.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsCasaz, P, Boucher, E, Wollacott, R, Pierce, BG, Rivera, R, Sedic, M, Ozturk, S, Thomas, WD, Wang, Y
JournalMAbs
Volume6
Issue6
Pagination1533-9
Date Published2014 Nov 2
ISSN1942-0870
Abstract<p>A common challenge encountered during development of high concentration monoclonal antibody formulations is preventing self-association. Depending on the antibody and its formulation, self-association can be seen as aggregation, precipitation, opalescence or phase separation. Here we report on an unusual manifestation of self-association, formation of a semi-solid gel or "gelation." Therapeutic monoclonal antibody C4 was isolated from human B cells based on its strong potency in neutralizing bacterial toxin in animal models. The purified antibody possessed the unusual property of forming a firm, opaque white gel when it was formulated at concentrations >30 mg/mL and the temperature was <6°C. Gel formation was reversible with temperature. Gelation was affected by salt concentration or pH, suggesting an electrostatic interaction between IgG monomers. A comparison of the C4 amino acid sequences to consensus germline sequences revealed differences in framework regions. A C4 variant in which the framework sequence was restored to the consensus germline sequence did not gel at 100 mg/mL at temperatures as low as 1°C. Additional genetic analysis was used to predict the key residue(s) involved in the gelation. Strikingly, a single substitution in the native antibody, replacing heavy chain glutamate 23 with lysine (E23K), was sufficient to prevent gelation. These results indicate that the framework region is involved in intermolecular interactions. The temperature dependence of gelation may be related to conformational changes near glutamate 23 or the regions it interacts with. Molecular engineering of the framework can be an effective approach to resolve the solubility issues of therapeutic antibodies.</p>
DOI10.4161/19420862.2014.975658
Alternate JournalMAbs
PubMed ID25484044