Impact of product-related factors on immunogenicity of biotherapeutics

J Pharm Sci. 2011 Feb;100(2):354-87. doi: 10.1002/jps.22276. Epub 2010 Aug 25.


All protein therapeutics have the potential to be immunogenic. Several factors, including patient characteristics, disease state, and the therapy itself, influence the generation of an immune response. Product-related factors such as the molecule design, the expression system, post-translational modifications, impurities, contaminants, formulation and excipients, container, closure, as well as degradation products are all implicated. However, a critical examination of the available data shows that clear unequivocal evidence for the impact of these latter factors on clinical immunogenicity is lacking. No report could be found that clearly deconvolutes the clinical impact of the product attributes on patient susceptibility. Aggregation carries the greatest concern as a risk factor for immunogenicity, but the impact of aggregates is likely to depend on their structure as well as on the functionality (e.g., immunostimulatory or immunomodulatory) of the therapeutic. Preclinical studies are not yet capable of assessing the clinically relevant immunogenicity potential of these product-related factors. Simply addressing these risk factors as part of product development will not eliminate immunogenicity. Minimization of immunogenicity has to begin at the molecule design stage by reducing or eliminating antigenic epitopes and building in favorable physical and chemical properties.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Biotechnology* / methods
  • Humans
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / immunology*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteins / therapeutic use*


  • Proteins