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Accelerating Therapeutic Antibody Development

Bio-Rad’s expansive antibody library platform sets the stage for an innovative and pioneering approach to biotherapeutic antibody discovery

by Bio-Rad Laboratories
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When it comes to playing defense against disease-causing organisms like viruses and stopping them from infecting human cells, our body calls upon the services of antibodies. Therapeutic antibodies are man-made variants that improve upon the body’s natural immune response. Over the years, therapeutic antibodies have witnessed major surges in global commercial sales – from $188.18 billion in 2022 to $209.98 billion in 2023 – and are now utilized for human therapy as well as for treating a variety of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, and inflammation, to name a few. Despite their immense potential, some of the biggest challenges in antibody discovery revolve around our lack of mechanistic knowledge of these proteins, specifically, their biology and function, for our health and in tackling disease. A greater combination of antibody diversity and extending antibody half-life present potential solutions to this challenge. 

Making better therapeutic antibodies

In the quest for better therapeutic antibodies with the highest specificity, researchers aim to pull together a large library of antibodies that can bind to the antigen target used for screening as well as ensure that the final antibody has a “human” amino acid sequence. The use of antibodies from a human, a human antibody phage library, or a humanized animal requires very little engineering and is generally the preferable approach. Antibody libraries, in this context, cater to the need for antibody diversity and provide researchers the choice to outsource or develop an in-house platform. As many companies lack their own in-house discovery platforms, outsourcing to an established antibody library platform has become the best course of action. 

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Bio-Rad PioneerTM Antibody Discovery Platform

With a focus on developing the best-in-class biologic candidates, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., recently announced the launch of the Bio-Rad Pioneer Antibody Discovery Platform. Featuring a state-of-the-art phage display human antibody library, the Pioneer Platform contains more than 200 billion unique antibodies, offering maximum functional diversity and affinity. The platform’s repertoire of antibodies is 1000 times bigger than the normal human immune system, thus providing researchers with a greater selection of antibody candidates and consequently, greater opportunities for the identification and development of superior therapeutic antibodies. This is further supported by the possibility of sub-nanomolar affinities from initial panning as well as affinity maturation, all of which can be used to optimize potential therapeutic antibody candidates. 

Beyond the extensive, highly curated, and diverse collection of antibodies, the Pioneer Platform is designed to offer excellent developability. This is characterized by the use of germline sequences with proven performance for the platform’s antibodies and where >90% of sequences encode functional light and heavy chains to minimize nonproductive cloning artefacts. Alongside an emphasis on reduced motifs that are often the cause of developability concerns, the Pioneer Platform offers greater flexibility for scalable and tailored formats that cater to the user’s needs. 

Many of these features are facilitated by the innovative propriety display technology that accompanies the Pioneer Platform: SpyDisplay. By utilizing a single vector for selection during phage display and expression of individual clones post-screening, SpyDisplay enables accelerated assay development and candidate selection. The utilization of a SpyTag-SpyCatcher system provides for protein ligation, the creation of covalently stabilized multi-protein complexes, and the display of the Fab. Setting aside the need for a subcloning step further reduces the potential for error and with a rapid affinity maturation process for ultra-high affinity selections, SpyDisplay technology improves the workflow efficiency toward antibody discovery.  


Antibody therapeutics have made great progress over the last few decades. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work to be done concerning the optimization of discovery processes and gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanistic functions of these proteins. Antibody libraries are now recognized as an important tool for drug development and can help identify antibody candidates with the right binding activity. In considering the use of an in-house platform or outsourcing, advanced and high-end feature optimized platforms and competent operator skills enforce reliability and enable success. Equally important in this aspect is the structural authenticity, quality, and purity of the antigen for which antibodies are sought. Bio-Rad Pioneer Antibody Discovery Platform provides a cutting-edge toolkit for streamlined lead generation discovery and development of high-quality clinical biologic candidates. Featuring an extensive and diverse phage display library, the Pioneer Platform can identify high-affinity antibody candidates with the help of propriety technology including SpyDisplay. Geared toward Bio-Rad’s focus on supporting the biotherapeutic space, the Pioneer Platform is here to help researchers seeking  novel antibody therapeutics all the while expanding underlying knowledge of the science behind diseases, increasing the future potential of antibody therapeutics, and setting the stage for greater innovation. 

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BIO-RAD and PIONEER are trademarks of Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. in certain jurisdictions. Products containing SpyTag1, SpyTag3, SpyCatcher1 or SpyCatcher3 and/or their use are covered by the following U.S. patents and/or pending U.S. patent application or their foreign counterparts owned by or under license to Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., including, but not limited to, U.S. Patent Nos. 9,547,003, 10,247,727, and 10,527,609. Products containing SpyTag2 or SpyCatcher2 and/or their use are covered by the following U.S. patents and/or pending U.S. patent application or their foreign counterparts owned by or under license to Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., including, but not limited to, U.S. Patent Nos. 9,547,003, 10,247,727, 10,527,609, and 11,059,867. All trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owner.

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Credit: Bio-Rad
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Credit: Bio-Rad