Monoclonal antibodies represent the fastest growing class of pharmaceuticals. A major problem, however, is that the proteins are susceptible to aggregation at the high concentration commonly used during manufacturing and storage. Our recent publication describes a technology based on molecular simulations to identify aggregation-prone regions of proteins in silico. The technology, called spatial aggregation propensity (SAP), identifies hot-spots for aggregation based on the dynamic exposure of spatially-adjacent hydrophobic amino acids. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in which patches with high-SAP scores are changed to patches with significantly reduced SAP scores via a single mutation are more stable than wild type, thus validating the SAP method for mapping aggregation-prone regions on proteins. We propose that the SAP technology will be useful for protein stabilization, and as a screening tool to bridge discovery and development of protein-based therapeutics by a rational assessment of the developability of candidate protein drugs.
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