By coupling in vitro SHM with our mammalian cell system that simultaneously displays and secretes antibodies, we believe our SHM platform is able to rapidly identify and mature antibodies with desired functional activity to high potency while simultaneously mitigating the risks associated with manufacturing. We introduce AID into mammalian cells to replicate the non-random mutagenesis SHM pattern observed within B cells in vivo. Starting with a library of either fully-human or humanized antibodies, our platform generates AID-based variants of the starting antibody library throughout the process. We have demonstrated that the pattern of mutagenesis we observe in vitro using our platform technology closely mimics the pattern observed among in vivo generated antibodies, thereby increasing confidence that antibodies generated by our platform will be tolerated when used as therapeutic drugs in humans.
By selecting antibodies based on their antigen binding from the broad antibody library population our SHM platform develops, we are able to evolve in an iterative fashion the binding potency and function of antibodies to levels that we believe will be required for therapeutic use. We believe this approach allows us to rapidly generate antibodies with high binding potency against a target. Through this approach, we have successfully generated therapeutic antibody product candidates to more than 25 targets, including targets that have been challenging for competing antibody technology platforms.
Each evolving antibody is expressed within the SHM-active mammalian cell to concurrently (i) display the evolved antibody on the cell surface to permit cell sorting selection for potency properties while (ii) the same antibody is secreted into the extracellular media at sufficient quantities to permit functional assays to be conducted. In this manner, the evolving antibodies expressed by each transfected cell are assessed in a high-throughput fashion for the desired functional activity relevant to the therapeutic mechanism.