Trends in Pharmacological Sciences

Building better drugs: Developing and regulating engineered therapeutic proteins

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Most native proteins do not make optimal drugs and thus a second- and third-generation of therapeutic proteins, which have been engineered to improve product attributes or to enhance process characteristics, are rapidly becoming the norm. There has been unprecedented progress, during the past decade, in the development of platform technologies that further these ends. Although the advantages of engineered therapeutic proteins are considerable, the alterations can affect the safety and efficacy of the drugs. We discuss both the key technological innovations with respect to engineered therapeutic proteins and advancements in the underlying basic science. The latter would permit the design of science-based criteria for the prediction and assessment of potential risks and the development of appropriate risk management plans. This in turn holds promise for more predictable criteria for the licensure of a class of products that are extremely challenging to develop but represent an increasingly important component of modern medical practice. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Allrights reserved.