Research ArticleTherapeutic Antibodies

Addressing Safety Liabilities of TfR Bispecific Antibodies That Cross the Blood-Brain Barrier

Science Translational Medicine  01 May 2013:
Vol. 5, Issue 183, pp. 183ra57
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005338

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Abstract

Bispecific antibodies using the transferrin receptor (TfR) have shown promise for boosting antibody uptake in brain. Nevertheless, there are limited data on the therapeutic properties including safety liabilities that will enable successful development of TfR-based therapeutics. We evaluate TfR/BACE1 bispecific antibody variants in mouse and show that reducing TfR binding affinity improves not only brain uptake but also peripheral exposure and the safety profile of these antibodies. We identify and seek to address liabilities of targeting TfR with antibodies, namely, acute clinical signs and decreased circulating reticulocytes observed after dosing. By eliminating Fc effector function, we ameliorated the acute clinical signs and partially rescued a reduction in reticulocytes. Furthermore, we show that complement mediates a residual decrease in reticulocytes observed after Fc effector function is eliminated. These data raise important safety concerns and potential mitigation strategies for the development of TfR-based therapies that are designed to cross the blood-brain barrier.

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