Roadmap for the Development and Clinical Translation of Optical Tracers Cetuximab-800CW and Trastuzumab-800CW

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Optical molecular imaging using fluorescently labeled monoclonal antibodies is of significant added value in guiding surgical or endoscopic procedures. However, development of tracers for clinical trials is complex, and implementation in the clinic is therefore slow. We present a roadmap for development and translation of monoclonal antibody tracers into a drug product compliant with current good manufacturing processes (cGMPs). Methods: The production process for cetuximab-800CW and trastuzumab-800CW was optimized with regard to dye-to-protein ratio and formulation buffer. Promising formulations were produced under cGMP conditions and advanced to a full-scale stability study. Tracers were analyzed for stability by size-exclusion high-pressure liquid chromatography, pH measurement, osmolality, visual inspection, and sterility, as required by the European Pharmacopeia and cGMP guidelines. Results: Seven formulations were investigated for cetuximab-800CW and 10 for trastuzumab-800CW. On the basis of the formulation study results, we chose 2 formulations per antibody for investigation during the full-scale stability study. These formulations all performed well, showing good compliance with the acceptance criteria set for each product. Conclusion: We designed a roadmap to standardize the development, formulation, and cGMP translation of molecular fluorescent tracers. Using our standardized approach, we developed 2 stable antibody-based tracers for clinical use. The proposed roadmap can be used to efficiently develop a cGMP-compliant formulation and improve the translation of newly developed optical tracers to first-in-human use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-423
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date10-Jan-2019
Publication statusPublished - 1-Mar-2019


  • optical imaging
  • roadmap
  • development
  • cGMP
  • IRDYE 800CW
  • HEAD

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