Subscribe to Newsletter
Fields & Applications Pharma & Biopharma

Daddy, What's the Big Deal with Antibodies?

“Daddy, what’s the big deal with antibodies?”

It blew me off my chair when my 12-year-old daughter suddenly showed an interest in my work. Evidently, the question did not arise from the scientific articles and reports that she had spotted on my desk (I really need to find more time to process these), but rather from a discussion on COVID-19 immunity and testing between a virologist and a politician she had heard on television. And so I did what any responsible parent with a background in life science and biochemistry would do: I gave her a short course on antibodies and antigens, immunoglobulins M and G, T-cells, natural killer cells, innate and adaptive immunity…

As I rambled on with great enthusiasm, it eventually dawned on me that she is probably too young for my nerd babble. That is, until she asked THE question: “Why can’t we use antibodies as medicines to treat COVID-19 infection?”

In the last two decades, antibodies have reshaped the pharmaceutical landscape and are today amongst the fastest growing and most lucrative therapeutics (six out of the top ten best-selling drugs worldwide are antibody-based). These biotechnology-derived products are being used successfully in the treatment of cancers and autoimmune diseases, amongst others, and are now also being evaluated as COVID-19 therapies.

Though antibodies are top-of-mind, the healthcare industry is also welcoming other protein-based products (antibody-drug conjugates, fusion constructs, replacement enzymes), as well as nucleic acid (plasmid DNA, mRNA) and cell-based products. All of these share a common denominator: intriguing therapeutic potential and extreme structural complexity. They are the new kids on the block, gaining rapid popularity amongst pharma visionaries, but remaining somewhat mysterious idols in the analytical community.

Oh, boy! How we love to get analytical autographs from those new rock stars, subject them to our newest tools, and spend weeks interpreting their data for discussion with our colleagues and collaborators. With all eyes on pharma and biotech as they are today, we live in challenging yet exciting times for analytical scientists. New and increasingly complex therapeutics and vaccines are being developed at an exponential rate. And, amidst this race, our community must move quickly while maintaining an eagle-eye view of our subjects.

In honor of our crucial role in this space, The Analytical Scientist is running a four-month special series celebrating biopharma in all its glory. Advances are lurking behind every corner, but which compelling stories will break the mold and make the difference. It’s time to explore. You in?

Receive content, products, events as well as relevant industry updates from The Analytical Scientist and its sponsors.
Stay up to date with our other newsletters and sponsors information, tailored specifically to the fields you are interested in

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].
If you wish to unsubscribe, you can update your preferences at any point.

About the Author
Koen Sandra

Koen Sandra is CEO, RIC, Kortrijk, Belgium.

Related Application Notes
Case Study: Spatial Biology Studies in Lung Tissue using Spectral Microscopy

| Contributed by Zeiss

Reproducible oligonucleotide IEX analyses from the very first injection!

| Contributed by YMC

Separation of plasmid isoforms using BioPro HIC BF

| Contributed by YMC

Related Product Profiles
Higher Peaks – Clearly.

| Contributed by Shimadzu Europa

Compact with countless benefits

| Contributed by Shimadzu Europa

The fine Art of Method Development

| Contributed by Shimadzu Europa

Register to The Analytical Scientist

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:
  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Analytical Scientist magazine