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von Willebrand factor contributes to longer half-life of PEGylated factor VIII in vivo


Correspondence: Liang Tang, Biologics Research, Bayer HealthCare, 455 South Mission Bay Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.

Tel.: +415 437 5818; fax: +415 437 5968;



PEGylation of B-domain deleted factor VIII (PEG-FVIII-BDD) prolongs the half-life of the molecule by approximately twofold in animals (Mei et al., Blood 2010; 116: 270). To investigate the role of von Willebrand factor (vWF) in the catabolism of PEG-FVIII-BDD in vivo, a FVIII-BDD mutant (F8V), which is incapable of binding vWF, was generated by deleting the vWF-binding region in the a3 domain of FVIIII-BDD. F8V was expressed, purified and PEGylated by site-specific conjugation. The biochemical and biological properties of F8V and PEGylated F8V (PEG-F8V) were evaluated in vitro and in vivo. The specific activity of purified F8V by a chromogenic assay was similar to FVIII-BDD and PEGylation had minimal impact on the specific activity of F8V in this assay. Analysis by Biacore indicated that both F8V and PEG-F8V display greatly reduced vWF binding in vitro. Pharmacokinetic studies in FVIII knockout (HaemA) mice showed that the terminal half-life (T1/2) of F8V was dramatically reduced relative to FVIII-BDD (0.6 h vs. 6.03 h). PEGylation of F8V promoted a significant increase in T1/2, although PEGylation did not fully compensate for the loss in vWF binding. PEG-F8V showed a shorter T1/2 than PEG-FVIII-BDD both in HaemA mice (7.7 h vs. 14.3 h) and in Sprague-Dawley male rats (2.0 ± 0.3 h vs. 6.0 ± 0.5 h). These data demonstrated that vWF contributes to the longer T1/2 of PEG-FVIII-BDD. Furthermore, this suggests that the clearance of the FVIII:vWF complex, through vWF receptors, is not the sole factor which places an upper limit on the duration of PEG-FVIII circulation in plasma.