Ylanthia® is MorphoSys’s next-generation antibody technology and was presented in December 2011. Ylanthia, which is the industry’s largest antibody Fab library to date, uses a unique and innovative concept for the in vitro generation of highly specific and fully human antibodies. MorphoSys expects its novel antibody library to set new standards for therapeutic antibody generation in the pharmaceutical industry over the next decade and beyond.
Drug Candidates with Superior Properties against Unique Targets and Epitopes
Ylanthia takes antibody technology beyond current methods. There are two major reasons why existing technologies limit the successful development of therapeutic antibodies. First, many antibodies fail in development due to poor biophysical properties, which render the molecule “not developable”. If the antibody cannot be manufactured or its properties make it difficult to handle, chances of successful commercialization are slim. Second, failure to generate antibodies against all regions or “epitopes” of a target may lead to highly promising disease targets being overlooked. Lack of diversity in antibody generation means that putative targets often are not fully “interrogated” with antibodies intended to probe their role in disease processes. The Ylanthia technology was specifically conceived and designed to overcome these limitations.
A guiding principle underlying the design and construction of the Ylanthia library was to ensure that the library is of the highest possible quality. Features which distinguish Ylanthia from other technologies include:
- Size and heavy/light chain pairing: Ylanthia is the industry’s largest known antibody Fab library, comprising over 100 billion distinct, fully human antibodies. Ylanthia uses 36 fixed, naturally-occurring heavy and light chain framework combinations, which translates into unprecedented structural diversity. Great care was invested into the antigen binding site design. The library’s diversity is expected to result in antibodies against previously inaccessible target molecules and unique epitope coverage.
- Biophysical properties: Antibody frameworks were pre-selected for expression levels, stability and aggregation behavior. A shift towards higher stability and stress tolerance will increase shelf life and serum stability of resulting antibody-products, making them more cost-effective to produce and administer. A higher solubility in turn opens up the path for more convenient formulations for patients, such as subcutaneous administration.
- Optimization: When needed, antibodies from the Ylanthia library are optimized using MorphoSys’s proprietary Slonomics® technology, which MorphoSys obtained through its 2010 acquisition of Sloning BioTechnology. Ylanthia thereby distinguishes itself in a central respect from HuCAL, which relies on a modular gene design and pre-formed cassettes for antibody optimization. Slonomics enables optimization of Ylanthia antibodies with unprecedented speed and flexibility.