Abzena Launches EpiScreen® 2.0 Immunogenicity Platform

25th April 2024

Abzena Launches EpiScreen® 2.0, a Next Generation Immunogenicity Tool for De-Risking the Development of Complex Biologics and Bioconjugates

Cambridge, UK, April 25, 2024, Abzena, the leading end-to-end integrated CDMO for complex biologics and bioconjugates, has announced the launch of its enhanced bioassay platform EpiScreen® 2.0, a comprehensive suite of assays that predict and evaluate potential risks of preclinical immunogenicity in protein, antibody, and gene therapy therapeutics. The next-generation tool provides a better immunogenic assessment that is highly sensitive, multi-parametric, and data-rich, which ultimately improves candidate selection and de-risks early-phase development.

Abzena launched its first generation EpiScreen® platform over 20 years ago and are considered to be innovators in the field of immunogenicity.  The newly enhanced EpiScreen® 2.0 builds upon the original platform by delivering a more advanced set of immune response measurements with the required sensitivity, plus detailed information on specificity and mechanism-of-action (MoA) to better inform the nature of immunogenicity risk and how to mitigate this through protein engineering and formulation.

Using flow cytometry, EpiScreen® 2.0’s Time Course Assay delivers levels of sensitivity comparable to traditional assays using [3H]-thymidine as a readout for proliferation and allows characterization of the responding immune cells by multiplexing the readout with cell activation markers. Beyond the standard assessment of CD4+ T cells, the platform can evaluate the responses of other immune cells, including CD8+ T-cells, giving insight into the MoA, which can be useful for gene therapy, where evaluation of the endogenous antigen processing pathway is more relevant.  These data-rich assays can support an array of drug types including biologics, bioconjugates, and gene therapies, and can be delivered as a platform method or customized to each program to provide the necessary information needed to select the best candidate for clinical evaluation.

Dr Campbell Bunce, CSO of Abzena said, “Understanding a lead drug candidate’s immunogenicity risk profile and how we can mitigate it is a key step in advancing new drugs from discovery to clinical trials.

“We developed EpiScreen® 2.0 because we understand that there are many factors that contribute to the immunogenicity risk of a drug, especially with the next-generation therapeutics being developed like antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).  I’m not aware of any other service provider that offers such an extensive set of immunogenicity assessment capabilities covering bioinformatics, proteomics, and ex vivo human immune cell assays underpinned by a high-throughput, high-quality infrastructure for blood processing and storage.  Our EpiScreen® 2.0 platform allows drug developers to be better informed and more confident in progressing to later stage development with a better chance of success in patients.”

About Abzena

Abzena is the leading end-to-end bioconjugate and complex biologics CDMO + CRO. From discovery through commercial launch, we support customers with fully integrated programs or individual services designed to de-risk and streamline the development of new treatments for patients in need. With the ability to tailor its strategy and customer experience to each project, Abzena develops and implements innovative solutions that enable biotech and biopharma companies to realize the full potential of their molecule and move medicines forward faster. The company has research, development, and cGMP facilities across locations in San Diego, CA, Bristol, PA, and Cambridge, UK. Abzena is owned by Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, one of the world’s leading private equity investors.