Development of a rapid, sensitive and specific assay for immunogenicity detection of therapeutic biologics


Competition: EXPLORE Program 2013
Funding: $310,000 / 2 years
Beginning: September 2014

Immunogenicity can be a problem when treating patients with biologics, which can result in anti-drug antibody (ADA) production. ADA can reduce the bioavailability of the biologics and cause adverse clinical events. There is a need in the pharmaceutical industry for assays to detect immunogenicity of biologics. It is, however, a challenging task to investigate immunogenicity. The objective here is to study the impact of low-fouling layers on immunogenicity detection through ligand-based sensing. The use of these low fouling surfaces limits the influence of blood-derived molecules on the studied immune responses allowing studying only the specific targeted responses while limiting non-specific ones. This results in improved data interpretation because cell-produced and/or blood-derived molecules are known to alter immunogenicity detection. Three assays to detect both humoral and cellular immune responses will be developed. The assays will provide new ways to bring more effective and safer biologics to the clinic and to the market, as well as to reduce R&D costs, time to market and the risks of development. This project is leaded by Prof. Patrick Vermette (ingénieur), an expert in surface science and biodetection and Dr. Tamas Fülöp, a clinician, who will provide the expertise in clinical immunology.

Patrick Vermette

Université de Sherbrooke



Tamas Fülöp
Université de Sherbrooke


Brian Granda
Investigator III, Biologics Team,
Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR)