Publications by authors named "Arnaud Avril"

13 Publications

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Antibodies against Anthrax Toxins: A Long Way from Benchlab to the Bedside.

Toxins (Basel) 2022 02 25;14(3). Epub 2022 Feb 25.

Département Microbiologie et Maladies Infectieuses, Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées, 91220 Brétigny-sur-Orge, France.

Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium , and is a potential biowarfare/bioterrorist agent. Its pulmonary form, caused by inhalation of the spores, is highly lethal and is mainly related to injury caused by the toxins secretion. Antibodies neutralizing the toxins of are regarded as promising therapeutic drugs, and two are already approved by the Federal Drug Administration. We developed a recombinant human-like humanized antibody, 35PA83 6.20, that binds the protective antigen and that neutralized anthrax toxins in-vivo in White New Zealand rabbits infected with the lethal 9602 strain by intranasal route. Considering these promising results, the preclinical and clinical phase one development was funded and a program was started. Unfortunately, after 5 years, the preclinical development was cancelled due to industrial and scientific issues. This shutdown underlined the difficulty particularly, but not only, for an academic laboratory to proceed to clinical development, despite the drug candidate being promising. Here, we review our strategy and some preliminary results, and we discuss the issues that led to the no-go decision of the pre-clinical development of 35PA83 6.20 mAb. Our review provides general information to the laboratories planning a (pre-)clinical development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8955606PMC
February 2022

Ricin Antibodies' Neutralizing Capacity against Different Ricin Isoforms and Cultivars.

Toxins (Basel) 2021 01 29;13(2). Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Paris-Saclay University, CEA, INRAE, Medicines and Healthcare Technologies Department (DMTS), SPI, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

Ricin, a highly toxic protein from , is considered a potential biowarfare agent. Despite the many data available, no specific treatment has yet been approved. Due to their ability to provide immediate protection, antibodies (Abs) are an approach of choice. However, their high specificity might compromise their capacity to protect against the different ricin isoforms (D and E) found in the different cultivars. In previous work, we have shown the neutralizing potential of different Abs (43RCA-G1 (anti ricin A-chain) and RB34 and RB37 (anti ricin B-chain)) against ricin D. In this study, we evaluated their protective capacity against both ricin isoforms. We show that: (i) RB34 and RB37 recognize exclusively ricin D, whereas 43RCA-G1 recognizes both isoforms, (ii) their neutralizing capacity in vitro varies depending on the cultivar, and (iii) there is a synergistic effect when combining RB34 and 43RCA-G1. This effect is also demonstrated in vivo in a mouse model of intranasal intoxication with ricin D/E (1:1), where approximately 60% and 40% of mice treated 0 and 6 h after intoxication, respectively, are protected. Our results highlight the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of the Abs against different ricin isoforms to identify the treatment with the broadest spectrum neutralizing effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxins13020100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7911099PMC
January 2021

Construction of Macaque Immune-Libraries.

Methods Mol Biol 2018 ;1701:83-112

BIOTEM, Parc d'activité Bièvre Dauphine 885, rue Alphonse Gourju, 38140, Apprieu, France.

Rapidly after the clinical success of the first murine therapeutic antibody licensed in 1985 (muromomab-CD3), the first limits of the therapeutic use of antibodies deriving from hybridoma technology appeared. Indeed, the nonhuman nature of these therapeutic antibodies makes them immunogenic when administrated to patients, which develop anti-drug antibodies (ADA). If repeated drug-administrations are needed, the immune response will accelerate the elimination of the drug, leading to a therapeutic failure, or in the worst case to an anaphylactic reaction against the murine protein. Several antibody generations were then developed to obtain better-tolerated molecules: chimeric, humanized, and fully human antibodies. The first antibody generation is fully based on cellular technology (mice hybridoma technology), but the next generations are improved by molecular engineering. Immune antibody phage-display libraries are one successful approach to isolating such engineered antibodies. One strategy to isolate high-affinity and well-tolerated antibodies when no immunized patients are available is based on the phage-display-screening of immune libraries deriving from immunized nonhuman primates, which are phylogenetically close to humans. This chapter presents the strategy for the construction of macaque antibody immune-libraries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-7447-4_5DOI Listing
July 2018

The European AntibotABE Framework Program and Its Update: Development of Innovative Botulinum Antibodies.

Toxins (Basel) 2017 10 2;9(10). Epub 2017 Oct 2.

Institut Pasteur, Unité des Bactéries Anaérobies et Toxines, 25 Avenue du Docteur Roux, 75015 Paris, France.

The goal of the AntiBotABE Program was the development of recombinant antibodies that neutralize botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT) A, B and E. These serotypes are lethal and responsible for most human botulinum cases. To improve therapeutic efficacy, the heavy and light chains (HC and LC) of the three BoNT serotypes were targeted to achieve a synergistic effect (oligoclonal antibodies). For antibody isolation, macaques were immunized with the recombinant and non-toxic BoNT/A, B or E, HC or LC, followed by the generation of immune phage-display libraries. Antibodies were selected from these libraries against the holotoxin and further analyzed in in vitro and ex vivo assays. For each library, the best ex vivo neutralizing antibody fragments were germline-humanized and expressed as immunoglobulin G (IgGs). The IgGs were tested in vivo, in a standardized model of protection, and challenged with toxins obtained from collections of strains. Protective antibody combinations against BoNT/A and BoNT/B were evidenced and for BoNT/E, the anti-LC antibody alone was found highly protective. The combination of these five antibodies as an oligoclonal antibody cocktail can be clinically and regulatorily developed while their high "humanness" predicts a high tolerance in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxins9100309DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5666356PMC
October 2017

Therapeutic Antibodies for Biodefense.

Authors:
Arnaud Avril

Adv Exp Med Biol 2017 ;1053:173-205

Département des maladies infectieuses, Unité biothérapies anti-infectieuses et immunité, Institut de Recherche Biomédical des Armées, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France.

Diseases can be caused naturally by biological agents such as bacteria, viruses and toxins (natural risk). However, such biological agents can be intentionally disseminated in the environment by a State (military context) or terrorists to cause diseases in a population or livestock, to destabilize a nation by creating a climate of terror, destabilizing the economy and undermining institutions. Biological agents can be classified according to the severity of illness they cause, its mortality and how easily the agent can be spread. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) classify biological agents in three categories (A, B and C); Category A consists of the six pathogens most suitable for use as bioweapons (Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, botulinum neurotoxins, smallpox and viral hemorrhagic fevers). Antibodies represent a perfect biomedical countermeasure as they present both prophylactic and therapeutic properties, act fast and are highly specific to the target. This review focuses on the main biological agents that could be used as bioweapons, the history of biowarfare and antibodies that have been developed to neutralize these agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-72077-7_9DOI Listing
August 2018

Neutralization of Botulinum Neurotoxin Type E by a Humanized Antibody.

Toxins (Basel) 2016 09 12;8(9). Epub 2016 Sep 12.

Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki 00014, Finland.

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) cause botulism and are the deadliest naturally-occurring substances known to humans. BoNTs have been classified as one of the category A agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicating their potential use as bioweapons. To counter bio-threat and naturally-occurring botulism cases, well-tolerated antibodies by humans that neutralize BoNTs are relevant. In our previous work, we showed the neutralizing potential of macaque (Macaca fascicularis)-derived scFv-Fc (scFv-Fc ELC18) by in vitro endopeptidase immunoassay and ex vivo mouse phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm assay by targeting the light chain of the botulinum neurotoxin type E (BoNT/E). In the present study, we germline-humanized scFv-Fc ELC18 into a full IgG hu8ELC18 to increase its immunotolerance by humans. We demonstrated the protection and prophylaxis capacity of hu8ELC18 against BoNT/E in a mouse model. A concentration of 2.5 ng/mouse of hu8ELC18 protected against 5 mouse lethal dose (MLD) in a mouse protection assay and complete neutralization of 1 LD50 of pure BoNT/E toxin was achieved with 8 ng of hu8ELC18 in mouse paralysis assay. Furthermore, hu8ELC18 protected mice from 5 MLD if injected up to 14 days prior to intraperitoneal BoNT/E administration. This newly-developed humanized IgG is expected to have high tolerance in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxins8090257DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037483PMC
September 2016

Development of Germline-Humanized Antibodies Neutralizing Botulinum Neurotoxin A and B.

PLoS One 2016 25;11(8):e0161446. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

Institut Pasteur, Unité des Bactéries anaérobies et Toxines, Paris, France.

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are counted among the most toxic substances known and are responsible for human botulism, a life-threatening disease characterized by flaccid muscle paralysis that occurs naturally by food poisoning or colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by BoNT-producing clostridia. To date, 7 serologically distinct serotypes of BoNT (serotype A-G) are known. Due to the high toxicity of BoNTs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have classified BoNTs as category A agent, including the six biological agents with the highest potential risk of use as bioweapons. Well tolerated antibodies neutralizing BoNTs are required to deal with the potential risk. In a previous work, we described the development of scFv and scFv-Fc (Yumab) from macaque origin (Macaca fascicularis) neutralizing BoNT/A and B by targeting the heavy and light chain of each serotype. In the present study, we humanized the macaque antibodies SEM120-IIIC1 (anti-BoNT/A light chain), A1HC38 (anti-BoNT/A heavy chain), BLC3 (anti-BoNT/B light chain) and B2-7 (anti-BoNT/B heavy chain) by germline-humanization to obtain a better potential immunotolerance in humans. We increased the Germinality Index (GI) of SEM120-IIIC1 to 94.5%, for A1HC38, to 95% for BLC3 and to 94.4% for B2-7. Furthermore, the neutralization efficacies of the germline-humanized antibodies were analyzed in lethal and non-lethal in vivo mouse assays as full IgG. The germline-humanized IgGs hu8SEM120-IIIC1, hu8A1HC38, hu8BLC3 and hu8B2-7 were protective in vivo, when anti-heavy and anti-light chain antibodies were combined. The synergistic effect and high humanness of the selected IgGs makes them promising lead candidates for further clinical development.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161446PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4999263PMC
August 2017

Development of Human-Like scFv-Fc Neutralizing Botulinum Neurotoxin E.

PLoS One 2015 6;10(10):e0139905. Epub 2015 Oct 6.

Technische Universität Braunschweig, Institut für Biochemie, Biotechnologie und Bioinformatik, Abteilung Biotechnologie, Spielmannstr. 7, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany.

Background: Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are considered to be the most toxic substances known on earth and are responsible for human botulism, a life-threatening disease characterized by flaccid muscle paralysis that occurs naturally by food-poisoning or colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by BoNT-producing clostridia. BoNTs have been classified as category A agent by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are listed among the six agents with the highest risk to be used as bioweapons. Neutralizing antibodies are required for the development of effective anti-botulism therapies to deal with the potential risk of exposure.

Results: In this study, a macaque (Macaca fascicularis) was immunized with recombinant light chain of BoNT/E3 and an immune phage display library was constructed. After a multi-step panning, several antibody fragments (scFv, single chain fragment variable) with nanomolar affinities were isolated, that inhibited the endopeptidase activity of pure BoNT/E3 in vitro by targeting its light chain. Furthermore, three scFv were confirmed to neutralize BoNT/E3 induced paralysis in an ex vivo mouse phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm assay. The most effective neutralization (20LD50/mL, BoNT/E3) was observed with scFv ELC18, with a minimum neutralizing concentration at 0.3 nM. Furthermore, ELC18 was highly effective in vivo when administered as an scFv-Fc construct. Complete protection of 1LD50 BoNT/E3 was observed with 1.6 ng/dose in the mouse flaccid paralysis assay.

Conclusion: These scFv-Fcs antibodies are the first recombinant antibodies neutralizing BoNT/E by targeting its light chain. The human-like nature of the isolated antibodies is predicting a good tolerance for further clinical development.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0139905PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4595074PMC
June 2016

Isolation of nanomolar scFvs of non-human primate origin, cross-neutralizing botulinum neurotoxins A1 and A2 by targeting their heavy chain.

BMC Biotechnol 2015 Sep 17;15:86. Epub 2015 Sep 17.

Département des Maladies Infectieuses, Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées, Unité Interaction Hôte-Pathogène, 1 Place du Général Valérie André, BP73, 91220, Brétigny-sur-Orge, CEDEX, France.

Background: Botulism is a naturally occurring disease, mainly caused by the ingestion of food contaminated by the botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs). Botulinum neurotoxins are the most lethal. They are classified among the six major biological warfare agents by the Centers for Disease Control. BoNTs act on the cholinergic motoneurons, where they cleave proteins implicated in acetylcholine vesicle exocytosis. This exocytosis inhibition induces a flaccid paralysis progressively affecting all the muscles and generally engendering a respiratory distress. BoNTs are also utilized in medicine, mainly for the treatment of neuromuscular disorders, preventing large scale vaccination. Botulism specific treatment requires injections of antitoxins, usually of equine origin and thus poorly tolerated. Therefore, development of human or human-like neutralizing antibodies is of a major interest, and it is the subject of the European framework project called "AntiBotABE".

Results: In this study, starting from a macaque immunized with the recombinant heavy chain of BoNT/A1 (BoNT/A1-HC), an immune antibody phage-display library was generated and antibody fragments (single chain Fragment variable) with nanomolar affinity were isolated and further characterized. The neutralization capacities of these scFvs were analyzed in the mouse phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm assay.

Conclusions: After a three-round panning, 24 antibody fragments with affinity better than 10 nM were isolated. Three of them neutralized BoNT/A1 efficiently and two cross-neutralized BoNT/A1 and BoNT/A2 subtypes in the mouse phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm assay. These are the first monoclonal human-like antibodies cross-neutralizing both BoNT/A1 and BoNT/A2. The antibody A1HC38 was selected for further development, and could be clinically developed for the prophylaxis and treatment of botulism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12896-015-0206-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4574468PMC
September 2015

Development of human-like scFv-Fc antibodies neutralizing Botulinum toxin serotype B.

MAbs 2015 18;7(6):1161-77. Epub 2015 Sep 18.

a Division of Bacteriology; National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), a centre of Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency ; Hertfordshire UK.

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are responsible for human botulism, a life-threatening disease characterized by flaccid muscle paralysis that occurs naturally by food poisoning or colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by BoNT-producing clostridia. BoNTs have been classified as category A agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To date, 7 subtypes of BoNT/B were identified showing that subtypes B1 (16 strains) and B2 (32 strains) constitute the vast majority of BoNT/B strains. Neutralizing antibodies are required for the development of anti-botulism drugs to deal with the potential risk. In this study, macaques (Macaca fascicularis) were immunized with recombinant light chain (LC) or heavy chain (HC) of BoNT/B2, followed by the construction of 2 hyper-immune phage display libraries. The best single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) isolated from each library were selected according to their affinities and cross reactivity with BoNT/B1 toxin subtype. These scFvs against LC and HC were further analyzed by assessing the inhibition of in vitro endopeptidase activity of BoNT/B1 and B2 and neutralization of BoNT/B1 and B2 toxin-induced paralysis in the mouse ex vivo phrenic nerve assay. The antibodies B2-7 (against HC) and BLC3 (against LC) were produced as scFv-Fc, and, when tested individually, neutralized BoNT/B1 and BoNT/B2 in a mouse ex vivo phrenic nerve assay. Whereas only scFv-Fc BLC3 alone protected mice against BoNT/B2-induced paralysis in vivo, when B2-7 and BLC3 were combined they exhibited potent synergistic protection. The present study provided an opportunity to assess the extent of antibody-mediated neutralization of BoNT/B1 and BoNT/B2 subtypes in ex vivo and in vitro assays, and to confirm the benefit of the synergistic effect of antibodies targeting the 2 distinct functional domains of the toxin in vivo. Notably, the framework regions of the most promising antibodies (B2-7 and BLC3) are close to the human germline sequences, which suggest that they may be well tolerated in potential clinical development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19420862.2015.1082016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4966489PMC
August 2016

Development of neutralizing scFv-Fc against botulinum neurotoxin A light chain from a macaque immune library.

MAbs 2014 Mar-Apr;6(2):446-59. Epub 2014 Jan 9.

Technische Universität Braunschweig; Institut für Biochemie, Biotechnologie, und Bioinformatik; Abteilung Biotechnologie; Braunschweig, Germany.

Botulinum toxins (BoNTs) are among the most toxic substances on earth, with serotype A toxin being the most toxic substance known. They are responsible for human botulism, a disease characterized by flaccid muscle paralysis that occurs naturally through food poisoning or the colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by BoNT-producing clostridia. BoNT has been classified as a category A agent by the Centers for Disease Control, and it is one of six agents with the highest potential risk of use as bioweapons. Human or human-like neutralizing antibodies are thus required for the development of anti-botulinum toxin drugs to deal with this possibility. In this study, Macaca fascicularis was hyperimmunized with a recombinant light chain of BoNT/A. An immune phage display library was constructed and, after multistep panning, several scFv with nanomolar affinities that inhibited the endopeptidase activity of BoNT/A1 in vitro as scFv-Fc, with a molar ratio (ab binding site:toxin) of up to 1:1, were isolated. The neutralization of BoNT/A-induced paralysis by the SEM120-IID5, SEM120-IIIC1 and SEM120-IIIC4 antibodies was demonstrated in mouse phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm preparations with the holotoxin. The neutralization observed is the strongest ever measured in the phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm assay for BoNT/A1 for a monoclonal antibody. Several scFv-Fc inhibiting the endopeptidase activity of botulinum neurotoxin A were isolated. For SEM120-IID5, SEM120-IIIC1, and SEM120-IIIC4, inhibitory effects in vitro and protection against the toxin ex vivo were observed. The human-like nature of these antibodies makes them promising lead candidates for further development of immunotherapeutics for this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/mabs.27773DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984333PMC
November 2014

Mapping the epitopes of a neutralizing antibody fragment directed against the lethal factor of Bacillus anthracis and cross-reacting with the homologous edema factor.

PLoS One 2013 31;8(5):e65855. Epub 2013 May 31.

Unité de Biotechnologie des Anticorps, et des Toxines, Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées, La Tronche, France.

The lethal toxin (LT) of Bacillus anthracis, composed of the protective antigen (PA) and the lethal factor (LF), plays an essential role in anthrax pathogenesis. PA also interacts with the edema factor (EF, 20% identity with LF) to form the edema toxin (ET), which has a lesser role in anthrax pathogenesis. The first recombinant antibody fragment directed against LF was scFv 2LF; it neutralizes LT by blocking the interaction between PA and LF. Here, we report that scFv 2LF cross-reacts with EF and cross-neutralizes ET, and we present an in silico method taking advantage of this cross-reactivity to map the epitope of scFv 2LF on both LF and EF. This method identified five epitope candidates on LF, constituted of a total of 32 residues, which were tested experimentally by mutating the residues to alanine. This combined approach precisely identified the epitope of scFv 2LF on LF as five residues (H229, R230, Q234, L235 and Y236), of which three were missed by the consensus epitope candidate identified by pre-existing in silico methods. The homolog of this epitope on EF (H253, R254, E258, L259 and Y260) was experimentally confirmed to constitute the epitope of scFv 2LF on EF. Other inhibitors, including synthetic molecules, could be used to target these epitopes for therapeutic purposes. The in silico method presented here may be of more general interest.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0065855PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3669279PMC
January 2014

Isolation of antibodies from non-human primates for clinical use.

Curr Drug Discov Technol 2014 Mar;11(1):20-7

Unite de biotechnologie des anticorps et des toxines, Departement de microbiologie, Institut de Recherche Biomedicale des Armees (IRBA-CRSSA), 38702 La Tronche Cedex, France.

Antibodies intended for clinical use have been isolated from non-human primates (NHP), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and macaques (Macaca fascicularis and Macaca mulatta), essentially with the use of the phage-display technology. All studies presenting such isolations have been reviewed and presented here, following the main steps of this technology, and advantages and disadvantages of NHP species were analyzed. Optimization of the tolerance of chimeric NHP-human antibodies by germline humanization was mentioned, and the recent alleviation of legal constraints was revealed. The methodology combining the use of phage-displayed libraries built from immunised NHP with germline humanization should be chosen more frequently to develop well-tolerated IgGs, directed against infectious or human antigens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/15701638113109990030DOI Listing
March 2014
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