Single chain antibody fragments with pH dependent binding to FcRn enabled prolonged circulation of therapeutic peptide in vivo

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The neonatal Fc receptor for IgG (FcRn) is considered critical for the regulation of endogenous IgG and serum albumin (SA) and their circulation half-life in vivo. Both IgG and SA can bind to FcRn tightly at acidic pH but not so much at neutral pH. Here we reported a few novel single chain antibody fragments (scFv) obtained based on screening of a phage library. FnAb-8 and FnAb-12 can bind to human FcRn with higher affinities than IgG at acidic pH but similar or lower affinities than IgG at pH 7.4. Fusion proteins consisted of the therapeutic peptide, GLP-1 (Glucagon-like peptide-1) connected to the N-terminus of FnAb-8 and FnAb-12, named as G8 and G12, were shown to retain the pH-dependent binding capabilities to FcRn while also bound to the GLP-1 receptor. In vivo efficacy studies in diet induced diabetes mice confirmed the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonist activities and sustained blood sugar lowering effect. In vivo pharmacokinetics (PK) studies were performed in nonhuman primates and FnAb-8 was found to have circulation half-life several folds longer than what have been reported for scFvs. G8 may be developed into long acting GLP-1R agonists with great potentials in clinical applications.

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