Hemophilia A is a congenital disorder caused by deficiency or malfunction of coagulation factor (F) VIII. While exogenously provided FVIII effectively reduces bleeding complications in many hemophilia A patients, multiple efforts are underway to develop new drugs to meet the needs that conventional FVIII agents do not. We have been long engaged in creating and clinically developing a humanized anti-FIXa/FX asymmetric bispecific IgG antibody with a FVIIIa-cofactor activity. Since this project was born from a creative and unique idea, our group recognized from the first that it would face many difficulties in the course of research including establishment of industrial manufacturability of an asymmetric bispecific IgG antibody. The group actually faced various challenges, but addressed all of them during about 10 years of research, and successfully created the potent humanized bispecific antibody, emicizumab. Emicizumab has showed clinical benefits in the human trials among which the first one was started in 2012, and has been currently approved in US, EU, Japan, and some other countries. It is now expected to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. In this article, we review the course of the research and clinical development of emicizumab, and describe its molecular characteristics.
Keywords: Bispecific antibody; Emicizumab; Factor VIII; Hemophilia A.