Bispecific antibodies: a mechanistic review of the pipeline (Nature Reviews Drug Discovery)

The term bispecific antibody (bsAb) is used to describe a large family of molecules designed to recognize two different epitopes or antigens. BsAbs come in many formats, ranging from relatively small proteins, merely consisting of two linked antigen-binding fragments, to large immunoglobulin G (IgG)-like molecules with additional domains attached. An attractive bsAb feature is their potential for novel functionalities — that is, activities that do not exist in mixtures of the parental or reference antibodies. In these so-called obligate bsAbs, the physical linkage of the two binding specificities creates a dependency that can be temporal, with binding events occurring sequentially, or spatial, with binding events occurring simultaneously, such as in linking an effector to a target cell. To date, more than 20 different commercialized technology platforms are available for bsAb creation and development, 2 bsAbs are marketed and over 85 are in clinical development. Here, we review the current bsAb landscape from a mechanistic perspective, including a comprehensive overview of the pipeline.