Phage display technology has played a key role in the remarkable progress of discovering and optimizing antibodies for diverse applications, particularly antibody-based drugs. This technology was initially developed by George Smith in the mid-1980s and applied by John McCafferty and Gregory Winter to antibody engineering at the beginning of 1990s. Here, we compare nine phage display antibody libraries published in the last decade, which represent the state of the art in the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies using phage display. We first discuss the quality of the libraries and the diverse types of antibody repertoires used as substrates to build the libraries, i.e., naïve, synthetic, and semisynthetic. Second, we review the performance of the libraries in terms of the number of positive clones per panning, hit rate, affinity, and developability of the selected antibodies. Finally, we highlight current opportunities and challenges pertaining to phage display platforms and related display technologies.
Keywords: affinity; antibody library design; developability; hit rate; naive repertoires; synthetic repertoires.