Antibodies are large, Y-shaped proteins that are part of the human immune system and are designed to identify and neutralize pathogens such as bacteria, viruses or cancer cells. Human antibodies are made up of several distinct parts with complementary functions: the upper parts of the Y, or "Fab arms", recognize potential harmful agents, or antigens, by binding via the "V (variable) regions"; the Fc region, at the base of the Y, alerts and attracts cells from the immune system to eliminate the pathogens.
argenx combines the diversity of the llama immune system with antibody engineering to advance a clinical pipeline to treat patients with cancer and severe autoimmune diseases.
This novel idea comes from two key findings about llama antibodies:
- V-regions of llama and human antibodies are virtually identical
- Disease targets differ substantially between humans and llamas (source: Odbileg et al, 2005)
Combining these two key findings during immunization leads to a phenomenal immune reaction of llamas against the disease targets and to the production of an enormous variety of human-like antibodies.
MAbs 2015, Klarenbeek et al.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2016, Blanchetot et al.