Antibody Complementarity Determining Region Design Using High-Capacity Machine Learning

The precise targeting of antibodies and other protein therapeutics is required for their proper function and the elimination of deleterious off-target effects. Often the molecular structure of a therapeutic target is unknown and randomized methods are used to design antibodies without a model that relates antibody sequence to desired properties. Here we present a machine learning method that can design human Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies with target affinities that are superior to candidates from phage display panning experiments within a limited design budget. We also demonstrate that machine learning can improve target-specificity by the modular composition of models from different experimental campaigns, enabling a new integrative approach to improving target specificity. Our results suggest a new path for the discovery of therapeutic molecules by demonstrating that predictive and differentiable models of antibody binding can be learned from high-throughput experimental data without the need for target structural data.

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