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Better Cell-Based Assays to Measure Co-Inhibitory and Co-Stimulatory Receptors in the Development of Therapeutic Antibodies

Richard is a Strategic Collaborations Manager focusing on building strategic relationships with biotech and pharmaceutical customers through technical introductions on early access technologies, custom assay services, and collaborative support. Prior to Promega, Dr. Somberg worked at Life Technologies where he led product development and service efforts in biochemical and cell-based assays for key target classes in drug discovery. He completed post-doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania, received his Ph.D. in immunology from Purdue University.

  • Richard Somberg, PhD.

  • Strategic Collaborations Manager

  • Original Webinar Date: Thursday, May 21, 2015

Immunotherapy enables a patient's own immune system to fight disease, and several investigational drugs of this type are showing good results. We present a novel reporter-based approach to characterize and measure the activity of biological molecules on immunotherapy drug targets. View full abstract below.

Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy or biotherapy, stimulates certain parts of the immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. An attractive feature is that immunotherapy enables a patient's own immune system to battle cancerous target cells instead of either attacking the target cells directly or using whole-body approaches. Important drug targets in immunotherapy include:

  • Co-inhibitory receptors: PD-1, CTLA-4, LAG3, Tim3
  • Co-stimulatory receptors: GITR, CD40, OX40, 4-1BB

Current approaches to measure the potency of immunotherapy drugs include in vitro binding assays, primary T cell-based cytokine release assays, and in vivo model systems. Binding assays do not demonstrate the drug's functional impact; primary cell-based assays are tedious and have high variation; and although in vivo animal models can assess the drug's antitumor effects, survival time and rate, they also have high variation and are cost and time prohibitive.

There is an urgent need for simple, easy-to-use, robust, plate-based functional bioassays to measure potency of a candidate drug during the development of immunotherapy mAbs. Such assays require high sensitivity with appropriate specificity, precision, and accuracy for drug screening and characterization in early drug discovery, and for lot release and stability studies in drug manufacture.