Biologics Discovery
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Biologics discovery in a robust biopharmaceutical workflow

The focus on biologics discovery has ramped over the past decade: discovering and developing highly specific small molecule drugs is extremely challenging, whereas biologics can be developed with high binding specificity. Biologics are commonly based on proteins and antibodies, with antibody therapeutics being of particular interest due to their clinical effectiveness and target specificity – therefore dominating the drug discovery pipeline.

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are a growing class of therapeutic proteins that can be used to target proteins with great selectivity. With this high selective power, specific cell’s mechanisms can be modified, such as tumour growth inhibition in oncology cases.

In order to identify the best biologic, detecting functional proteins that express high levels of stability is vital. Speed and efficiency are key to increasing productivity and reducing costs in biologics discovery. It is imperative that researchers have the correct tools and techniques to characterise and analyse biologics.

Peptide mapping is used to detect, characterise and quantify products and impurities based on the amino acid sequence of a therapeutic protein (for example, a mAb). Peptide mapping involves the enzymatic digestion of the protein and subsequent analysis of the resulting peptides. The peptide data are then processed and compared with the theoretical protein sequence, for the identification and quantitation of post-translational modifications (PTMs).

Mass spectrometry is often used with liquid chromatography to gain structural insights and enable the confirmation of the molecular weight of therapeutic proteins and identify PTMs. High resolution mass spectrometry is also used for intact mass analysis for biologics discovery and development.