professeur d'immunologie moléculaire et directrice de l'immunologie translationnelle au Centre d'immunologie du cancer de la faculté de médecine de l'Université de Southampton
Professors Sally Ward and Raimund Ober have recently relocated their research group from the USA to Southampton. Their interdisciplinary research program is dedicated to the use of protein engineering to develop novel antibody-based therapeutics.
The identification in the Ward/Ober laboratory of the Fc receptor, FcRn, as a regulator of IgG levels and transport has resulted in significant interest in targeting FcRn in biopharma. Extensive analyses of FcRn behaviour, including subcellular trafficking studies, have led to collaborations with biopharma to develop several therapeutics that are based on modulating the interactions of IgG with FcRn. For example, one such therapeutic (Efgartigimod) that inhibits FcRn activity has been developed in collaboration with Argenx, and has recently been successfully used in phase 3 trials to treat antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases.
"The presentation will cover how a combination of antibody engineering, fluorescence microscopy and mouse disease models have been used to inform the design of therapeutics to modulate the dynamic behavior of antibodies for the treatment of autoimmunity. In particular, the targeting of the MHC Class I-related receptor, FcRn, that recycles and transports IgG to maintain IgG homeostasis will be discussed. The generation of engineered antibody-drug conjugates that are designed to deliver their cytotoxic payload more efficiently to tumor cells will also be presented"