Biologics | General

Biologic compounds are increasingly attractive to develop due to the tremendous benefits they offer when treating complex and challenging diseases that have been difficult to address with other molecules (e.g. small molecule therapeutics). The list includes a wide variety of compound classes:

  • Recombinant proteins such as cytokines and growth factors
  • Large peptides
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Bispecific antibodies (BsMAb, BsAb)
  • Immunoconjugates (e.g. ADCs)
  • Nanobodies
  • Soluble receptors
  • Fusion proteins
  • Nucleic acids, etc.

Since many biologics are forms of naturally occurring human molecules, they’re able to target their intended ligands more specifically than many small molecules, which often have undesirable promiscuity and off-target effects. It might, therefore, be expected that the specificity of large molecules could render them ‘superior’ to classic small molecule drugs with respect to “off-target” adverse effects. Unfortunately, there are often unpredictable and complex adverse reactions associated with large molecule biologics as well. These adverse reactions are heterogeneous. Many are immune related and result in negative responses such as cytokine release syndrome/cytokine storms and off-target cytotoxicity such as complement-dependent, antibody-dependent and T cell mediated cytotoxicity. Similar to small molecules, biologics may also cause various types of myelosuppression.

Example of drug candidate(s) testing using NHP cells

drug candidate drug candidate