This multidisciplinary translational research project has generated a predominantly human sequence monoclonal antibody (mAb) with high affinity (Kd = 4 nM) for cocaine and specificity over cocaine's inactive metabolites. This unique new molecular entity (preclinical designation, 2E2, a human gamma 1 (?1) heavy chain and mouse lamda (?) light chain) is at an advanced stage of preclinical development for use in the prevention of relapse in treatment-seeking cocaine abusers. The development of 2E2 has met several key safety and efficacy milestones. The mostly human structure of this mAb should be safe for repeated treatments in patients and should confer long-term efficacy. Anti-cocaine mAbs bind to and sequester cocaine in the peripheral circulation and we have shown that 2E2 dramatically lowers brain cocaine concentrations in mice. Furthermore, 2E2 decreases the effect of cocaine in a rat model of relapse. Our industry collaborator, Vybion Inc., has reengineered a novel version of our mAb with a human kappa (?) light chain constant region replacing the mouse constant region. The reengineered mAb protein (h2E2) has been transiently expressed and h2E2 retains the identical affinity and specificity for cocaine as 2E2. This represents a proof-of-concept milestone and h2E2 represents our new lead candidate for commercialization. Work will be continued towards the development of a stably transfected mammalian cell line capable of the high level production of h2E2, which will be required for its clinical development. Targeted modifications of h2E2's primary structure aim to increase protein expression levels and stability, thereby enhancing the cost-effectiveness of production. The overall goal of the proposed studies is to provide the comprehensive structural and efficacy data for the highly expressed variant of h2E2 and then produce sufficient quantities of purified h2E2 to support the in vivo toxicology studies that are required for an IND application to the FDA.

Public Health Relevance

Cocaine abuse has a major negative impact on society and translating basic research findings into effective medications for this disease is an unmet need. We have generated and characterized a unique humanized anti-cocaine monoclonal antibody (mAb) that is suitable for clinical use for the prevention of relapse in cocaine abusers. The overall goal of this translational project is to develop a high efficiency mammalian cell-based production platform to produce commercial amounts of our humanized mAb. An effective treatment for cocaine abuse would have a profound impact on ameliorating this devastating public health problem.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (NDPA) (DP1)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1)
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Chiang, Nora
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University of Cincinnati
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Wetzel, Hanna N; Tabet, Michael R; Ball, William J et al. (2014) The effects of a humanized recombinant anti-cocaine monoclonal antibody on the disposition of cocaethylene in mice. Int Immunopharmacol 23:387-90
Norman, Andrew B; Gooden, Felicia C T; Tabet, Michael R et al. (2014) A recombinant humanized anti-cocaine monoclonal antibody inhibits the distribution of cocaine to the brain in rats. Drug Metab Dispos 42:1125-31
Norman, Andrew B; Tabet, Michael R; Norman, Mantana K et al. (2014) Maintained cocaine self-administration is determined by quantal responses: implications for the measurement of antagonist potency. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 348:311-5
Norman, Andrew B; Ball Jr, William J (2012) Predicting the clinical efficacy and potential adverse effects of a humanized anticocaine monoclonal antibody. Immunotherapy 4:335-43
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Norman, Andrew B; Norman, Mantana K; Tabet, Michael R et al. (2011) Competitive dopamine receptor antagonists increase the equiactive cocaine concentration during self-administration. Synapse 65:404-11
Norman, Andrew B; Tabet, Michael R; Norman, Mantana K et al. (2011) The affinity of D2-like dopamine receptor antagonists determines the time to maximal effect on cocaine self-administration. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 338:724-8