Monovalent TNF receptor 1-selective antibody with improved affinity and neutralizing activity.
Richter F, Zettlitz KA, Seifert O, Herrmann A, Scheurich P, Pfizenmaier K, Kontermann RE.
Selective inhibition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) signaling through the proinflammatory axis of TNF-receptor 1 (TNFR1) while leaving pro-survival and regeneration-promoting signals via TNFR2 unaffected is a promising strategy to circumvent limitations of complete inhibition of TNF action by the approved anti-TNF drugs. A previously developed humanized antagonistic TNFR1-specific antibody, ATROSAB, showed potent inhibition of TNFR1-mediated cellular responses. Because the parental mouse antibody H398 possesses even stronger inhibitory potential, we scrutinized the specific binding parameters of the two molecules and revealed a faster dissociation of ATROSAB compared to H398. Applying affinity maturation and re-engineering of humanized variable domains, we generated a monovalent Fab derivative (13.7) of ATROSAB that exhibited increased binding to TNFR1 and superior inhibition of TNF-mediated TNFR1 activation, while lacking any agonistic activity even in the presence of cross-linking antibodies. In order to improve its pharmacokinetic properties, several Fab13.7-derived molecules were generated, including a PEGylated Fab, a mouse serum albumin fusion protein, a half-IgG with a dimerization-deficient Fc, and a newly designed Fv-Fc format, employing the knobs-into-holes technology. Among these derivatives, the Fv13.7-Fc displayed the best combination of improved pharmacokinetic properties and antagonistic activity, thus representing a promising candidate for further clinical development.