MAbSilico developed a unique method evaluating the structural and sequential similarity between antibodies, which allows the functional clustering of large collections of Ab, as well as the prediction the off-targets.
Developing a therapeutic antibody is a long, tedious, and expensive process. Many obstacles need to be overcome, such as biophysical properties (issues of solubility, stability, weak production yields, etc.), as well as cross-reactivity and subsequent toxicity. No in silico method exists today to solve such issues. We hypothesized that if we were able to properly measure the similarity between the CDRs of antibodies (Ab) by considering not only their evolutionary proximity (sequence identity) but also their structural features, we would be able to identify families of Ab recognizing similar epitopes. As a consequence, Ab within the family would share the property to recognize their targets, which would allow (i) to identify off-targets and forecast the cross-reactions, and (ii) to identify new Ab for a given target. Testing our method on 238D2, an antagonistic anti-CXCR4 nanobody, we were able to find new nanobodies against CXCR4 and to identify influenza hemagglutinin as an off-target of 238D2.