Past, present, and future of anti-IgE biologics

Allergy. 2020 Oct;75(10):2491-2502. doi: 10.1111/all.14308. Epub 2020 Apr 21.


About 20 years after the identification of immunoglobulin E (IgE) and its key role in allergic hypersensitivity reactions against normally harmless substances, scientists have started inventing strategies to block its pathophysiological activity in 1986. The initial concept of specific IgE targeting through the use of anti-IgE antibodies has gained a lot of momentum and within a few years independent research groups have reported successful generation of first murine monoclonal anti-IgE antibodies. Subsequent generation of optimized chimeric and humanized versions of these antibodies has paved the way for the development of therapeutic anti-IgE biologicals as we know them today. With omalizumab, there is currently still only one therapeutic anti-IgE antibody approved for the treatment of allergic conditions. Since its application is limited to the treatment of moderate-to-severe persistent asthma and chronic spontaneous urticaria, major efforts have been undertaken to develop alternative anti-IgE biologicals that could potentially be used in a broader spectrum of allergic diseases. Several new drug candidates have been generated and are currently assessed in pre-clinical studies or clinical trials. In this review, we highlight the molecular properties of past and present anti-IgE biologicals and suggest concepts that might improve treatment efficacy of future drug candidates.

Keywords: IgE; allergy treament; anti-IgE; b cells; basophils; biologics; mast cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Allergic Agents*
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Biological Products* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Omalizumab / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Biological Products
  • anti-IgE antibodies
  • Omalizumab