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TArget-Responsive Subcellular Catabolism Analysis for Early-stage Antibody-Drug Conjugates Screening and Assessment

submitted on 01.12.2020, 04:07 and posted on 07.12.2020, 10:06 by Hua Sang, Jiali Liu, Fang Zhou, Xiaofang Zhang, Jingwei Zhang, Yazhong Liu, Guangji Wang, Hui Ye

Key events including antibody-antigen affinity, ADC internalization, trafficking and lysosomal proteolysis-mediated payload release combinatorially determine the therapeutic efficacy and safety for ADCs. Nevertheless, a universal technology that efficiently and conveniently evaluates the involvement of these above elements to ADC payload release and hence the final therapeutic outcomes for mechanistic studies and quality assessment is lacking. Considering the plethora of ADC candidates under development owing to the ever-evolving linker and drug chemistry, we developed a TArget-Responsive Subcellular Catabolism (TARSC) approach that measures catabolites kinetics for given ADCs and elaborates how each individual step ranging from antigen binding to lysosomal proteolysis affects ADC catabolism by targeted interferences. Using a commercial and a biosimilar ado-trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) as model ADCs, we recorded unequivocal catabolites kinetics for the two T-DM1s in the presence and absence of the targeted interferences. Their negligible differences in TARSC profiles fitting with their undifferentiated therapeutic outcomes suggested by in vitro viability assays and in vivo tumor growth assays, highlighting TARSC analysis as a good indicator of ADC efficacy and bioequivalency. Lastly, we demonstrated the use of TARSC in assessing payload release efficiency for a new Trastuzumab-toxin conjugate. Collectively, we demonstrated the use of TARSC in characterizing ADC catabolism at (sub)cellular level, and in systematically depicting whether given target proteins affect ADC payload release and hence therapeutic efficacy. We anticipate its future use in high-throughput screening, quality assessment and mechanistic understanding of ADCs for drug R&D before proceeding to costly in vivo experiments.


Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20180079, BK20180558)

National Natural Science Foundation of China (81872838, 81803625)


Email Address of Submitting Author


China Pharmaceutical University



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest