Publication I May 2, 2024

Balancing the Affinity and Tumor Cell Binding of a Two-in-One Antibody Simultaneously Targeting EGFR and PD-L1

The optimization of the affinity of monoclonal antibodies is crucial for the development of drug candidates, as it can impact the efficacy of the drug and, thus, the dose and dosing regimen, limit adverse effects, and reduce therapy costs. Here, we present the affinity maturation of an EGFR×PD-L1 Two-in-One antibody for EGFR binding utilizing site-directed mutagenesis and yeast surface display. The isolated antibody variants target EGFR with a 60-fold-improved affinity due to the replacement of a single amino acid in the CDR3 region of the light chain. The binding properties of the Two-in-One variants were confirmed using various methods, including BLI measurements, real-time antigen binding measurements on surfaces with a mixture of both recombinant proteins and cellular binding experiments using flow cytometry as well as real-time interaction cytometry. An AlphaFold-based model predicted that the amino acid exchange of tyrosine to glutamic acid enables the formation of a salt bridge to an arginine at EGFR position 165. This easily adaptable approach provides a strategy for the affinity maturation of bispecific antibodies with respect to the binding of one of the two antigens.