Phenotypic screening—the fast track to novel antibody discovery

April 25, 2017



  • Ralph R. Minter,
  • Alan M. Sandercock,
  • Steven J. Rust,

Department of Antibody Discovery and Protein Engineering, MedImmune, Milstein Building, Granta Park, Cambridge CB21 6GH, UK Available online 25 April 2017


The majority of antibody therapeutics have been isolated from target-led drug discovery, where many years of target research preceded drug program initiation. However, as the search for validated targets becomes more challenging and target space becomes increasingly competitive, alternative strategies, such as phenotypic drug discovery, are gaining favour. This review highlights successful examples of antibody phenotypic screens that have led to clinical drug candidates. We also review the requirements for performing an effective antibody phenotypic screen, including antibody enrichment and target identification strategies. Finally, the future impact of phenotypic drug discovery on antibody drug pipelines will be discussed.


Section editors: Neil O Carragher – Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Jonathan A. Lee – Quantitative Biology, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. Ellen L. Berg – BioMAP Systems Division of DiscoverX, DiscoverX Corporation.