Development of a robust reporter gene based assay for the bioactivity determination of IL-5-targeted therapeutic antibodies
Eosinophilic asthma is characterized by the eosinophilic inflammation with the allergen independent activation of Th2 lymphocytes. Since IL-5 plays an important role in the maturation, survival and migration of eosinophils, hence the pathogenesis of eosinophilic asthma, biotherapeutics targeting IL-5/IL-5Rα have been developed and/or marketed, including Mepolizumab, Reslizumab, and Benralizumab. Accurate determination of bioactivity is crucial for the safety and efficacy of therapeutic antibodies. The current mode of action (MOA) based method used in the quality control and stability tests for anti-IL-5 mAbs is anti-proliferation assay, which is tedious with long duration and high variation. We describe here the development and validation of a reporter gene assay (RGA), based on an IL-5-dependent TF-1 cell line variant we established that stably expresses the luciferase reporter under the control of STAT5 response elements. After careful optimization, we demonstrate the excellent specificity, precision, accuracy and linearity of the established RGA. Our study also proves that the assay is superior on precision, sensitivity and assay simplicity to the anti-proliferation assay. The established RGA is also applicable to another anti-IL-5Rα mAb. These results show for the first time that this novel RGA, based on the IL-5-IL-5R-STAT5 pathway, can be a valuable supplement to the anti-proliferation assay and employed in the bioactivity determination of anti-IL-5/anti-IL-5Rα biotherapeutics.