Therapeutic antibodies remain one of the most attractive and value-added modalities for the development of new therapies. Seven of the top ten products ranked by sales are therapies based on the use of antibody-based therapies, and this trend is expected to continue over the next 15 to 20 years according to EvaluatePharma® World Preview 2022.

Oncology is expected to be one of the main drivers of this, with sales projections of over $ 300 Bn in 2026, comprising close to 21 % of industry sales.

The importance of bi-and multi-specific antibody therapeutics 

The last two decades have seen the rapid development of new technologies and innovative approaches in immunotherapy, which consists of mobilizing the patient’s immune system against cancer cells.

Cancer immunotherapy has been advancing on numerous fronts, with an emphasis on the development of monoclonal antibodies targeting immune checkpoint inhibitors and agonist receptors.

This first wave of the immunotherapy revolution, reinforced by recent advances in antibody engineering, has seen the emergence of bispecific and multi-specific antibodies, able to engage two or more antigens at once.

These new bi/multi-specific antibodies now create new avenues to explore different therapeutic strategies, alone or in combination, that are beyond the reach of monoclonal antibodies.

Bi- or multi-specific antibodies open the way to potentially superior potency through novel mechanisms of action such as redirected T cell activation and killing, modulation of receptor signaling, and simultaneous targeting of multiple immune checkpoint receptors.

The bispecific antibodies field has advanced tremendously in recent years as evidenced by recent clinical approvals: Amgen’s Blincyto; Roche’s Lunsumio; Janssen’s Tecvayli, …

A large number of bispecific immunotherapies are currently in clinical and preclinical development, as advances in bioengineering, and specifically in antibody engineering, have led to the development of numerous technological platforms that generated a remarkable variety of antibodies capable of targeting a wide range of therapeutic targets.

Two main therapeutic approaches currently dominate the application of bispecific antibodies in the immuno-oncology field:

  • Simultaneous targeting of two different receptors in order to co-inhibit redundant or alternative signaling pathways and limit their impact on the development of a pathology or cancer.
  • Mobilizing and redirecting immune effector cells to destroy tumor cells, using immune cell engagers.