Therapeutic proteins provide innovative and effective therapies for numerous diseases. However, some of these products are associated with unwanted immunogenicity that may lead to clinical consequences such as reduced or loss of efficacy, altered pharmacokinetics (PK), general immune and hypersensitivity reactions, and neutralisation of the natural counterpart (e.g. the physiological hormone). Regulatory guidance on immunogenicity assessment needs to take into consideration a great diversity of products, indications and patient populations as well as constantly advancing manufacturing technologies. Such guidance needs to be sufficiently specific while, at the same time, allowing interactive discussion and adjusted benefit-risk weighing of each product on a case-by-case basis, e.g. for a unique treatment of a life threatening disease acceptable treatment risks may differ considerably from the ones in case of less serious disease. This theme was the focus of the international conference "Taking immunogenicity assessment of therapeutic proteins to the next level", held at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut in Langen, Germany, on the 10-11. June 2010. The objectives of the conference were to highlight how the field could move from that of a mere description of risk factors to a system of risk assessment and mitigation, as well as an understanding of the impact of unwanted immunogenicity on the overall benefit/risk consideration for a medicinal product. More than 150 experts from industry, academia and regulatory authorities worldwide discussed the phenomenon of undesired immunogenicity from different perspectives. The conference focussed on issues relevant to three areas: (1) new European guidelines that are currently the subject of discussion; (2) testing strategies for immunogenicity assessment; and (3) scientific progress on the product-related factors that may contribute to the development of pathogenesis of immunogenicity, in particular in the field of protein aggregation and post-translational modifications. This report provides an overview of issues, insights, and conclusions that were discussed and achieved during the meeting.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.