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Microfluidic Screening Technology for the Discovery of Function-Modifying Antibodies Against Membrane Protein Targets

Principal Investigator:
  • Carl Hansen, University of British Columbia

Project Overview

Antibody (Ab)-based therapeutics are the fastest growing class of drugs, with approximately 60 approved molecules that represent a market of over $80B. To date, the growth of this market has been due to new therapeutics against targets that can be prepared as soluble antigens. Attention is now turning to more difficult target classes, including multi-pass membrane proteins. Compounding the difficulty in developing Ab against these targets classes is the inherent limitation in current Ab-generating platform of identifying binding Ab rather than true function-modifying Ab. AbCellera’s team plans to build upon its state-of-the-art microfluidic screening platform based on monoclonal Ab binding to establish world-leading capabilities in the discovery of function-modifying therapeutic Ab against membrane protein targets, including GPCRs, cytokine receptors and/or others to be determined. This technology will develop and integrate immunization methods, single-cell assays, microfluidic screening, single-cell genomics, bioinformatics, and high-throughput protein expression to enable the rapid screening of millions of single B cells in order to discover large and diverse panels of functional monoclonal Ab that are either agonists or antagonists against selected targets. The new screening capabilities and technology improvements will be commercialized by AbCellera as part of its Ab discovery business, thereby enabling the pharmaceutical industry to obtain suitable Ab against target classes that have proven refractory to traditional monoclonal Ab generation methods.