DARPins: a true alternative to antibodies

Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 2007 Mar;10(2):153-9.


Designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) are a promising class of non-immunoglobulin proteins that can offer advantages over antibodies for target binding in drug discovery and drug development. DARPins have been successfully used, for example, for the inhibition of kinases, proteases and drug-exporting membrane proteins. DARPins specifically targeting the cancer marker HER2 have also been generated and were shown to function in both in vitro diagnostics and in vivo tumor targeting. DARPins are ideally suited for in vivo imaging or delivery of toxins or other therapeutic payloads because of their favorable molecular properties, including small size and high stability. The low-cost production in bacteria and the rapid generation of many target-specific DARPins make the DARPin approach useful for drug discovery. Additionally, DARPins can be easily generated in multispecific formats, offering the potential to target an effector DARPin to a specific organ or to target multiple receptors with one molecule composed of several DARPins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ankyrin Repeat*
  • Ankyrins / pharmacology*
  • Antibodies / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Drug Design
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Pharmacology


  • Ankyrins
  • Antibodies
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors