Next generation antibody drugs: pursuit of the 'high-hanging fruit'

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2018 Mar;17(3):197-223. doi: 10.1038/nrd.2017.227. Epub 2017 Dec 1.


Antibodies are the most rapidly growing drug class and have a major impact on human health, particularly in oncology, autoimmunity and chronic inflammatory diseases. Many of the best understood and most tractable cell surface and secreted targets with known roles in human diseases have been extensively exploited for antibody drug development. In this Review, we focus on emerging and novel mechanisms of action of antibodies and innovative targeting strategies that could extend their therapeutic applications, including antibody-drug conjugates, bispecific antibodies and antibody engineering to facilitate more effective delivery. These strategies could enable the pursuit of difficult to hit, less well-understood or previously undruggable targets - the 'high-hanging fruit'.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bispecific / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Protein Engineering / methods*


  • Antibodies, Bispecific
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunoconjugates