Alan J. Bitonti

Biogen Idec, Уэстон, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (91)457.79 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The therapeutic management of antibody-mediated autoimmune disease typically involves immunosuppressant and immunomodulatory strategies. However, perturbing the fundamental role of the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) in salvaging IgG from lysosomal degradation provides a novel approach - depleting the body of pathogenic immunoglobulin by preventing IgG binding to FcRn and thereby increasing the rate of IgG catabolism. Herein, we describe the discovery and preclinical evaluation of fully human monoclonal IgG antibody inhibitors of FcRn. Using phage display, we identified several potent inhibitors of human-FcRn in which binding to FcRn is pH-independent, with over 1000-fold higher affinity for human-FcRn than human IgG-Fc at pH 7.4. FcRn antagonism in vivo using a human-FcRn knock-in transgenic mouse model caused enhanced catabolism of exogenously administered human IgG. In non-human primates, we observed reductions in endogenous circulating IgG of >60% with no changes in albumin, IgM, or IgA. FcRn antagonism did not disrupt the ability of non-human primates to mount IgM/IgG primary and secondary immune responses. Interestingly, the therapeutic anti-FcRn antibodies had a short serum half-life but caused a prolonged reduction in IgG levels. This may be explained by the high affinity of the antibodies to FcRn at both acidic and neutral pH. These results provide important preclinical proof of concept data in support of FcRn antagonism as a novel approach to the treatment of antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases.
    Frontiers in Immunology 04/2015; 6:176. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2015.00176
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    P S Wright · V Saudek · T J Owen · S L Harbeson · A J Bitonti
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    R T Peters · G Toby · Q Lu · T Liu · J D Kulman · S C Low · A J Bitonti · G F Pierce
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Hemophilia A results from a deficiency in FVIII activity. Current treatment regimens require frequent dosing owing to the short half-life of FVIII. A recombinant FVIII-Fc fusion protein (rFVIIIFc) was molecularly engineered to increase the half-life of FVIII, 1.5-2-fold in several preclinical animal models and humans. Objective: To perform a biochemical and functional in vitro characterization of rFVIIIFc, using existing FVIII products as comparators. Methods: rFVIIIFc was examined by utilizing a series of structural and analytical assays, including mass spectrometry following lysyl endopeptidase or thrombin digests. rFVIIIFc activity was determined in both one-stage clotting (activated partial thromboplastin time) and chromogenic activity assays, in the context of the Xase complex with purified components, and in both in vitro and ex vivo rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM(®) ) assays performed in whole blood. Results: rFVIIIFc contained the predicted primary structure and posttranslational modifications, with a FVIII moiety that was similar to other recombinant FVIII products. The von Willebrand Factor binding and specific activity of rFVIIIFc were also found to be similar to other recombinant FVIII molecules. Both chromogenic and one-stage assays of rFVIIIFc gave similar results. Ex vivo ROTEM studies demonstrated that circulating rFVIIIFc activity was prolonged in hemophilia A mice in comparison to B-domain deleted or full-length FVIII. Clot parameters at early timepoints were comparable to FVIII, whereas rFVIIIFc demonstrated prolonged improvement of clot formation. Conclusions: rFVIIIFc maintains normal FVIII interactions with other proteins necessary for its activity, with prolonged in vivo activity due to fusion with the Fc region of immunoglobulin G1. © 2012 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.
    Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 12/2012; 11(1). DOI:10.1111/jth.12076 · 5.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) may be a useful molecule for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases due to its potent natriuretic effects. In an effort to prolong the short in vivo half-life of ANP, fusions of the peptide to the Fc domain of IgG were generated using a semisynthetic methodology. Synthetic ANP peptides were synthesized with thioesters at either the N- or C-termini of the peptide and subsequently linked to the N-terminus of recombinantly expressed Fc using native chemical ligation. The linker length between the ANP and Fc moieties was varied among 2, 11, or 16 amino acids. In addition, either one ("monomeric") or two ("dimeric") ANP peptides were linked to Fc to study whether this modification had an effect on in vitro activity and/or in vivo half-life. The various constructs were studied for in vitro activity using a cell-based cGMP assay. The ANP-Fc fusion constructs were between 16- and ∼375-fold weaker than unconjugated ANP in this assay, and a trend was observed where the most potent conjugates were those with longer linkers and in the dimeric configuration. The pharmacokinetics of several constructs were assessed in rats, and the half-life of the ANP-Fc's were found to be approximately 2 orders of magnitude longer than that of the unconjugated peptide. There was no significant difference in terminal half-life between the monomeric and dimeric constructs (2.8-5.5 h), but a trend was observed where the C(max) of the monomeric constructs was approximately 3-fold higher than that of the dimeric constructs, although the origin of this effect is not understood. These novel ANP-Fc fusion constructs hold promise for future therapeutic application in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
    Bioconjugate Chemistry 02/2012; 23(3):518-26. DOI:10.1021/bc200592c · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This chapter contains sections titled: IntroductionNeonatal Fc Receptor and Interaction with Immunoglobulin GTraditional Fc Fusion ProteinsMonomeric Fc Fusion Proteins Show Improved Biologic PropertiesSummaryAcknowledgmentsReferences
    Therapeutic Proteins, 02/2012: pages 189-206; , ISBN: 9783527328499
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    ABSTRACT: Despite proven benefits, prophylactic treatment for hemophilia A is hampered by the short half-life of factor VIII. A recombinant factor VIII-Fc fusion protein (rFVIIIFc) was constructed to determine the potential for reduced frequency of dosing. rFVIIIFc has an ∼ 2-fold longer half-life than rFVIII in hemophilia A (HemA) mice and dogs. The extension of rFVIIIFc half-life requires interaction of Fc with the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn). In FcRn knockout mice, the extension of rFVIIIFc half-life is abrogated, and is restored in human FcRn transgenic mice. The Fc fusion has no impact on FVIII-specific activity. rFVIIIFc has comparable acute efficacy as rFVIII in treating tail clip injury in HemA mice, and fully corrects whole blood clotting time (WBCT) in HemA dogs immediately after dosing. Furthermore, consistent with prolonged half-life, rFVIIIFc shows 2-fold longer prophylactic efficacy in protecting HemA mice from tail vein transection bleeding induced 24-48 hours after dosing. In HemA dogs, rFVIIIFc also sustains partial correction of WBCT 1.5- to 2-fold longer than rFVIII. rFVIIIFc was well tolerated in both species. Thus, the rescue of FVIII by Fc fusion to provide prolonged protection presents a novel pathway for FVIII catabolism, and warrants further investigation.
    Blood 01/2012; 119(13):3024-30. DOI:10.1182/blood-2011-08-367813 · 10.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Currently, products containing interferon beta (IFNβ) are injected either intramuscularly or subcutaneously. To avoid the necessity of injection, we developed a novel monomeric Fc fusion protein of IFNβ (IFNβFc) that is absorbed via an immunoglobulin transport system present in the upper and central airways upon administration of the drug as an inhaled aerosol. The systemic absorption of IFNβFc through the lung in non-human primates, at deposited doses of 1, 3, and 10 μg/kg, was compared to the absorption of a single 3 μg/kg dose of IFNβ-1a (Avonex®) subcutaneously administered. IFNβFc was well absorbed through the lung, displaying dose proportional increases in serum concentrations, and was biologically active, as shown by increases in plasma neopterin levels. The circulating half-life of IFNβFc was ∼3 times longer (∼30 h) than that of IFNβ-1a, (8-9 h). At approximately equimolar doses of IFNβFc (10 μg/kg) and IFNβ-1a (3 μg/kg), the stimulation of neopterin over background levels was approximately equivalent, demonstrating that the longer half-life of IFNβFc compensated for the lower relative specific antiviral activity of IFNβFc measured in vitro. In conclusion, IFNβFc was efficiently absorbed after pulmonary delivery in non-human primates, retained its biological activity, and may offer a convenient alternative to injectable IFNβ.
    Journal of interferon & cytokine research: the official journal of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research 12/2011; 32(4):178-84. DOI:10.1089/jir.2011.0048 · 3.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Current factor IX (FIX) products display a half-life (t(1/2)) of ∼ 18 hours, requiring frequent intravenous infusions for prophylaxis and treatment in patients with hemophilia B. This open-label, dose-escalation trial in previously treated adult subjects with hemophilia B examined the safety and pharmacokinetics of rFIXFc. rFIXFc is a recombinant fusion protein composed of FIX and the Fc domain of human IgG(1), to extend circulating time. Fourteen subjects received a single dose of rFIXFc; 1 subject each received 1, 5, 12.5, or 25 IU/kg, and 5 subjects each received 50 or 100 IU/kg. rFIXFc was well tolerated, and most adverse events were mild or moderate in intensity. No inhibitors were detected in any subject. Dose-proportional increases in rFIXFc activity and Ag exposure were observed. With baseline subtraction, mean activity terminal t(1/2) and mean residence time for rFIXFc were 56.7 and 71.8 hours, respectively. This is ∼ 3-fold longer than that reported for current rFIX products. The incremental recovery of rFIXFc was 0.93 IU/dL per IU/kg, similar to plasma-derived FIX. These results show that rFIXFc may offer a viable therapeutic approach to achieve prolonged hemostatic protection and less frequent dosing in patients with hemophilia B. The trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00716716.
    Blood 11/2011; 119(3):666-72. DOI:10.1182/blood-2011-07-367003 · 10.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ChemInform is a weekly Abstracting Service, delivering concise information at a glance that was extracted from about 100 leading journals. To access a ChemInform Abstract of an article which was published elsewhere, please select a “Full Text” option. The original article is trackable via the “References” option.
    ChemInform 09/2010; 22(38). DOI:10.1002/chin.199138108
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment of hemophilia B requires frequent infusions of factor IX (FIX) to prophylax against bleeding episodes. Hemophilia B management would benefit from a FIX protein with an extended half-life. A recombinant fusion protein (rFIXFc) containing a single FIX molecule attached to the Fc region of immunoglobulin G was administered intravenously and found to have an extended half-life, compared with recombinant FIX (rFIX) in normal mice, rats, monkeys, and FIX-deficient mice and dogs. Recombinant FIXFc protein concentration was determined in all species, and rFIXFc activity was measured in FIX-deficient animals. The half-life of rFIXFc was approximately 3- to 4-fold longer than that of rFIX in all species. In contrast, in mice in which the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) was deleted, the half-life of rFIXFc was similar to rFIX, confirming the increased circulatory time was due to protection of the rFIXFc via the Fc/FcRn interaction. Whole blood clotting time in FIX-deficient mice was corrected through 144 hours for rFIXFc, compared with 72 hours for rFIX; similar results were observed in FIX-deficient dogs. Taken together, these studies show the enhanced pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties of the rFIXFc fusion protein and provide the basis for evaluating rFIXFc in patients with hemophilia B.
    Blood 03/2010; 115(10):2057-64. DOI:10.1182/blood-2009-08-239665 · 10.43 Impact Factor
  • Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibodies: From Bench to Clinic, 11/2009: pages 779 - 795; , ISBN: 9780470485408
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    ABSTRACT: The neonatal Fc receptor FcRn provides IgG molecules with their characteristically long half-lives in vivo by protecting them from intracellular catabolism and then returning them to the extracellular space. Other investigators have demonstrated that mice lacking FcRn are protected from induction of various autoimmune diseases, presumably because of the accelerated catabolism of pathogenic IgGs in the animals. Therefore, targeting FcRn with a specific inhibitor may represent a unique approach for the treatment of autoimmune disease or other diseases where the reduction of pathogenic IgG will have a therapeutic benefit. Using phage display peptide libraries, we screened for ligands that bound to human FcRn (hFcRn) and discovered a consensus peptide sequence that binds to hFcRn and inhibits the binding of human IgG (hIgG) in vitro. Chemical optimization of the phage-identified sequences yielded the 26-amino acid peptide dimer SYN1436, which is capable of potent in vitro inhibition of the hIgG-hFcRn interaction. Administration of SYN1436 to mice transgenic for hFcRn induced an increase in the rate of catabolism of hIgG in a dose-dependent manner. Treatment of cynomolgus monkeys with SYN1436 led to a reduction of IgG by up to 80% without reducing serum albumin levels that also binds to FcRn. SYN1436 and related peptides thus represent a previously uncharacterized family of potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of humorally mediated autoimmune and other diseases.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2008; 105(7):2337-42. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0708960105 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The neonatal FcR (FcRn) plays a critical role in IgG homeostasis by protecting it from a lysosomal degradation pathway. It has been shown that IgG has an abnormally short half-life in FcRn-deficient mice and that FcRn blockade significantly increases the catabolism of serum IgG in mice. Therefore, reduction of serum IgG half-life may have therapeutic benefits in Ab-mediated autoimmune diseases. We have studied the therapeutic effects of an anti-rat FcRn mAb, 1G3, in two rat models of myasthenia gravis, a prototypical Ab-mediated autoimmune disease. Passive experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis was induced by administration of an anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) mAb, and it was shown that treatment with 1G3 resulted in dose-dependent amelioration of the disease symptoms. In addition, the concentration of pathogenic Ab in the serum was reduced significantly. The effect of 1G3 was also studied in an active model of experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis in which rats were immunized with AChR. Treatment with 1G3 significantly reduced the severity of the disease symptoms as well as the levels of total IgG and anti-AChR IgG relative to untreated animals. These data suggest that FcRn blockade may be an effective way to treat Ab-mediated autoimmune diseases.
    The Journal of Immunology 04/2007; 178(8):5390-8. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.178.8.5390 · 5.36 Impact Factor
  • Alan J Bitonti · Jennifer A Dumont
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    ABSTRACT: We have applied a "physiologic" approach to the pulmonary delivery of therapeutic proteins, utilizing an immunoglobulin (antibody) transport pathway recently shown to be present predominantly in the conducting airways of the human respiratory tract. Therapeutic proteins are fused to the Fc-domain of an IgG1, allowing them to bind with high affinity to the antibody transport receptor, FcRn. Liquid aerosols are administered into the lung using normal breathing maneuvers and efficient delivery of several different Fc-fusion proteins has been achieved with retention of biological activity and an increase in circulating half-life. A new paradigm for the pulmonary delivery of therapeutic proteins and a fundamental advance in the construction of Fc-fusion proteins for this purpose will be described.
    Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews 11/2006; 58(9-10):1106-18. DOI:10.1016/j.addr.2006.07.015 · 12.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The delivery of therapeutic proteins by noninvasive routes of administration has been a challenging goal, hence current modes of delivery generally require injections. However, we have recently shown that a naturally occurring receptor, the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) can be utilized to carry aerosolized therapeutic proteins conjugated to a portion of its respective ligand (Fc domain of immunoglobulin G) across epithelial cells of the lung to effectively deliver biologically active molecules to the bloodstream. First-generation dimeric Fc fusion molecules were successfully transported by the pulmonary route and biologic activity was demonstrated in both non-human primates and human volunteers. Continuing efforts to improve transport efficiency have led to the development of an alternate configuration of Fc fusion proteins with improved characteristics. These second generation Fc fusion molecules are monomeric with respect to the therapeutic protein and dimeric with respect to the Fc region, and have been termed Fc fusion ‘monomers’. Several different Fc fusion monomers have demonstrated improved transport efficiency, achieving high bioavailabilities for pulmonary delivery in nonhuman primates. While the traditional dimeric Fc fusion molecule generally increases the half-life compared with the unconjugated effector molecule, the monomer configuration has been shown to result in an even greater extension of the circulating half-life, which improves pharmacokinetic parameters for protein therapeutics, whether administered by pulmonary delivery or injection. Finally, many of the Fc monomer fusions have enhanced biologic activity compared with the dimeric configuration. Because of these many advantages, the monomer configuration promises to be an enabling advance to achieve clinically relevant, noninvasive delivery with potentially less frequent administration regimens for a broad range of protein therapeutics. In addition, molecules that are comprised of heterodimeric subunits or multi-subunit complexes can also be constructed as Fc fusions that result in a molecule with enhanced pharmacokinetics and greater bioactivity. Several examples of novel Fc fusion proteins, both monomer and heterodimer are described herein.
    BioDrugs 05/2006; 20(3):151-160. DOI:10.2165/00063030-200620030-00002 · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The delivery of therapeutic proteins by noninvasive routes of administration has been a challenging goal, hence current modes of delivery generally require injections. However, we have recently shown that a naturally occurring receptor, the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) can be utilized to carry aerosolized therapeutic proteins conjugated to a portion of its respective ligand (Fc domain of immunoglobulin G) across epithelial cells of the lung to effectively deliver biologically active molecules to the bloodstream. First-generation dimeric Fc fusion molecules were successfully transported by the pulmonary route and biologic activity was demonstrated in both non-human primates and human volunteers. Continuing efforts to improve transport efficiency have led to the development of an alternate configuration of Fc fusion proteins with improved characteristics. These second generation Fc fusion molecules are monomeric with respect to the therapeutic protein and dimeric with respect to the Fc region, and have been termed Fc fusion 'monomers'. Several different Fc fusion monomers have demonstrated improved transport efficiency, achieving high bioavailabilities for pulmonary delivery in non-human primates. While the traditional dimeric Fc fusion molecule generally increases the half-life compared with the unconjugated effector molecule, the monomer configuration has been shown to result in an even greater extension of the circulating half-life, which improves pharmacokinetic parameters for protein therapeutics, whether administered by pulmonary delivery or injection. Finally, many of the Fc monomer fusions have enhanced biologic activity compared with the dimeric configuration. Because of these many advantages, the monomer configuration promises to be an enabling advance to achieve clinically relevant, noninvasive delivery with potentially less frequent administration regimens for a broad range of protein therapeutics. In addition, molecules that are comprised of heterodimeric subunits or multi-subunit complexes can also be constructed as Fc fusions that result in a molecule with enhanced pharmacokinetics and greater bioactivity. Several examples of novel Fc fusion proteins, both monomer and heterodimer are described herein.
    BioDrugs 02/2006; 20(3):151-60. · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    S C Low · S L Nunes · AJ Bitonti · JA Dumont
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    ABSTRACT: The alpha and beta subunits of FSH were fused to the Fc domain of IgG1 either in a single chain or a heterodimer format. These molecules were absorbed through the epithelium in lung and intestine by neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn)-mediated transcytosis. Single chain and heterodimer FSH-Fc were made recombinantly in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Treatment of rats with a single s.c. dose of single chain or heterodimer FSH-Fc resulted in greater stimulation of ovarian weight (20.8+/-3.9 and 26.9+/-6.1 mg respectively) compared to those receiving vehicle (12.1+/-1.0 mg) or an equimolar dose of recombinant human FSH (14.3+/-1.7 mg). Both FSH-Fc fusion proteins were absorbed after oral dosing of newborn rats with long terminal half-lives of approximately 60 h, and pulmonary delivery in four cynomolgus monkeys produced maximum serum concentrations between 69 and 131 ng/ml with long terminal half-lives between 55 and 210 h. Serum inhibin levels increased after pulmonary dosing with single chain FSH-Fc (1.3- and 1.4-fold) and heterodimer FSH-Fc (5.9- and 7.1-fold) and remained elevated for >12 days after treatment with heterodimer FSH-Fc. We have shown that FSH-Fc fusion proteins have increased stability in blood and improved bioactivity in vivo, and that heterodimer FSH-Fc is more active in rats and monkeys than single chain FSH-Fc. These data suggest that Fc fusion proteins offer the potential for oral and pulmonary delivery of FSH.
    Human Reproduction 07/2005; 20(7):1805-13. DOI:10.1093/humrep/deh896 · 4.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A novel drug delivery platform has been developed that utilizes a naturally occurring receptor known as the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn). The receptor is specific for the Fc fragment of IgG and is expressed in epithelial cells where it functions to transport immunoglobulins across these cell barriers. It has been shown that FcRn is expressed in both the upper and central airways in non-human primates as well as in humans. Pulmonary delivery of an erythropoietin- Fc fusion molecule (EpoFc) was previously demonstrated in non-human primates using this FcRn pathway. We have now conducted a phase I clinical study to test whether the FcRn pathway functioned similarly in man using human erythropoietin (Epo) fused to the Fc portion of human IgG1. The design was a three leg, non-randomized study conducted in healthy male volunteers with rising doses (3, 10, and 30 microg/kg) of the fusion protein targeted to the central lung regions. Using a target range of 10-30% vital capacity and 15 breaths per minute, approximately 70% of the lung-deposited dose of aerosolized EpoFc was delivered safely and effectively to the central lung regions. We showed dose-dependent concentrations of the fusion protein in the serum and an increase in circulating reticulocytes was evident in the highest dose group, thus demonstrating that large therapeutic molecules can be delivered to humans via the lung, with retention of biological activity, using the FcRn-mediated transport pathway.
    Journal of Aerosol Medicine 02/2005; 18(3):294-303. DOI:10.1089/jam.2005.18.294 · 1.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Administration of therapeutic proteins by methods other than injection is limited, in part, by inefficient penetration of epithelial barriers. Therefore, unique approaches to breaching these barriers are needed. The neonatal constant region fragment (Fc) receptor (FcRn), which is responsible for IgG transport across the intestinal epithelium in newborn rodents, is expressed in epithelial cells in adult humans and non-human primates. Here we show that FcRn-mediated transport is functional in the lung of non-human primates and that this transport system can be used to deliver erythropoietin (Epo) when it is conjugated to the Fc domain of IgG1. FcRn-dependent absorption was more efficient when the EpoFc fusion protein was deposited predominantly in the upper and central airways of the lung, where epithelial expression of FcRn was most prominently detected. To optimize fusion protein absorption in the lung, we created a recombinant "monomeric-Epo" Fc fusion protein comprised of a single molecule of Epo conjugated to a dimeric Fc. This fusion protein exhibited enhanced pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties. The bioavailability of the EpoFc monomer when delivered through the lung was approximately equal to that reported for unconjugated Epo delivered s.c. in humans. These studies show that FcRn can be harnessed to noninvasively deliver bioactive proteins into the systemic circulation in therapeutic quantities.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2004; 101(26):9763-8. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0403235101 · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Hepatology 12/2003; 38:277-277. DOI:10.1016/S0270-9139(03)80292-6 · 11.19 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
457.79 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010–2015
    • Biogen Idec
      Уэстон, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2009
    • Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1987–1993
    • Pace University
      • The Haskins Laboratories
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 1988
    • Union College
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1982
    • National Institutes of Health
      베서스다, Maryland, United States
  • 1981
    • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
      • Translational Medicine Branch
      Maryland, United States