548. Polyglycerol for half-life extension of proteins - alternative to PEGylation?
M. Tully, M. Dimde, C. Weise, P. Pouyan, K. Licha, M. Schirner, R. Haag – 2021
Since several decades, PEGylation is known to be the clinical standard to enhance pharmacokinetics of biotherapeutics. In this study, we introduce polyglycerol (PG) of different lengths and architectures (linear and hyperbranched) as an alternative polymer platform to poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) for half-life extension (HLE). We designed site-selective N-terminally modified PG-protein conjugates of the therapeutic protein anakinra (IL-1ra, Kineret) and compared them systematically with PEG analogues of similar molecular weights. Linear PG and PEG conjugates showed comparable hydrodynamic sizes and retained their secondary structure, whereas binding affinity to IL-1 receptor 1 decreased with increasing polymer length, yet remained in the low nanomolar range for all conjugates. The terminal half-life of a 40 kDa linear PG-modified anakinra was extended 4-fold compared to the unmodified protein, close to its PEG analogue. Our results demonstrate similar performances of PEG- and PG-anakinra conjugates and therefore highlight the outstanding potential of polyglycerol as a PEG alternative for half-life extension of biotherapeutics.