Antigen generation and display in therapeutic antibody drug discovery – a neglected but critical player



Disease intervention by targeting a critical pathway molecule through a blocking antibody or interference by therapeutic proteins is currently en vogue. Generation of blocking antibodies or therapeutic proteins inevitably requires the production of recombinant proteins or cell-based immunogens. Thus, one could call the antigen molecule the neglected player in antibody drug discovery. The variety of methods available for making recombinant proteins or recombinant cell lines that present the target on the cell surface is extensive. These need to be addressed in conjunction with biochemical and biophysical quality criteria and the experimental application intended. Fundamentally, successful production and isolation of monoclonal antibodies requires optimized antigen preparation and presentation to the immune host. This review summarizes the most important aspects of antigen generation and display, enabling logical decision making to give rise to potent high-affinity antibodies.