MAbs. 2016 Nov 21; doi: 10.1080/19420862.2016.1246096

Arvind Sivasubramanian1, Patricia Estep1, Heather Lynaugh1, Yao Yu1, Adam Miles2, Josh Eckman2, Kevin Schutz1, Crystal Piffath1, Nadthakarn Boland1, Rebecca Hurley Niles1, Stéphanie Durand1, Todd Boland1, Maximiliano Vásquez1, Yingda Xu1, Yasmina Abdiche3

1. Adimab LLC , Lebanon , NH , USA.
2. Wasatch Microfluidics, Inc. , Salt Lake City , UT , USA.
3. Rinat-Pfizer, Inc. , South San Francisco, CA , USA.

Abstract
Successful discovery of therapeutic antibodies hinges on the identification of appropriate affinity binders targeting a diversity of molecular epitopes presented by the antigen. Antibody campaigns that yield such broad “epitope coverage” increase the likelihood of identifying candidates with the desired biological functions. Accordingly, epitope binning assays are employed in the early discovery stages to partition antibodies into epitope families or “bins” and prioritize leads for further characterization and optimization. The collaborative program described here, which used hen egg white lysozyme (HEL) as a model antigen, combined 3 key capabilities: 1) access to a diverse panel of antibodies selected from a human in vitro antibody library; 2) application of state-of-the-art high-throughput epitope binning; and 3) analysis and interpretation of the epitope binning data with reference to an exhaustive set of published antibody:HEL co-crystal structures. Binning experiments on a large merged panel of antibodies containing clones from the library and the literature revealed that the inferred epitopes for the library clones overlapped with, and extended beyond, the known structural epitopes. Our analysis revealed that nearly the entire solvent-exposed surface of HEL is antigenic, as has been proposed for protein antigens in general. The data further demonstrated that synthetic antibody repertoires provide as wide epitope coverage as those obtained from animal immunizations. The work highlights molecular insights contributed by increasingly higher-throughput binning methods and their broad utility to guide the discovery of therapeutic antibodies representing a diverse set of functional epitopes.

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