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Transfer across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) remains a significant hurdle for the development of biopharmaceuticals with therapeutic effects within the central nervous system. We established a functional selection method to identify high affinity single domain antibodies to the transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1) with efficient biotherapeutic delivery across the BBB. A synthetic phage display library based on the variable domain of new antigen receptor (VNAR) was used for in vitro selection against recombinant human TfR1 ectodomain (rh-TfR1-ECD) followed by in vivo selection in mouse for brain parenchyma penetrating antibodies. TXB2 VNAR was identified as a high affinity, species cross-reactive VNAR antibody against TfR1-ECD that does not compete with transferrin or ferritin for receptor binding. IV dosing of TXB2 when fused to human Fc domain (TXB2-hFc) at 25 nmol/kg (1.875 mg/kg) in mice resulted in rapid binding to brain capillaries with subsequent transport into the brain parenchyma and specific uptake into TfR1-positive neurons. Likewise, IV dosing of TXB2-hFc fused with neurotensin (TXB2-hFc-NT) at 25 nmol/kg resulted in a rapid and reversible pharmacological response as measured by body temperature reduction. TXB2-hFc did not elicit any acute adverse reactions, bind, or deplete circulating reticulocytes or reduce BBB-expressed endogenous TfR1 in mice. There was no evidence of target-mediated clearance or accumulation in peripheral organs except lung. In conclusion, TXB2 is a high affinity, species cross-reactive, and brain-selective VNAR antibody to TfR1 that rapidly crosses the BBB and exhibits a favorable pharmacokinetic and safety profile and can be readily adapted to carry a wide variety of biotherapeutics from blood to brain. © 2020 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Citation

Pawel Stocki, Jaroslaw Szary, Charlotte L M Rasmussen, Mykhaylo Demydchuk, Leandra Northall, Diana Bahu Logan, Aziz Gauhar, Laura Thei, Torben Moos, Frank S Walsh, J Lynn Rutkowski. Blood-brain barrier transport using a high affinity, brain-selective VNAR antibody targeting transferrin receptor 1. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2021 Feb;35(2):e21172


PMID: 33241587

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