Antibody pipelines – the pharma perspective

Dr Erik Vernet, Director of Antibody Technology at Novo Nordisk, discusses antibody discovery and development workflows, including the role of informatics processes, in this Q&A.

What exciting antibody research is happening at Novo Nordisk?

Novo Nordisk’s vision is to defeat serious chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and rare endocrine and blood disorders. As such, we take a “patients first” approach and think hard about what makes a real difference. This means pioneering efficacious and safe medicines, but also considering convenience; in the end, patients need to take the medicine for it to work. For these reasons, antibodies fit very well into what we do: they can be generated with high specificity, long half-life, are well-established in the clinic and have many other relevant properties.

Can you describe a typical workflow for antibody discovery?

Antibodies have a fascinating property where they can be generated from a natural repertoire. This process, involving germline gene rearrangements as well as additional maturation through hypermutations, allows for efficient generation of high affinity antibodies. I think the last few years have reminded us all of…