A review paper was published in the journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery on January 13, 2022: Despite the fact that the familiar "-mab" has retired, it marks a new era in antibody drug development.

In November 2021, the WHO updated the generic naming rule for antibody drugs, three years after the 2018 revision.

With the rapid development of antibody drugs, ADCs, bispecific antibodies (https://www.creativebiolabs.net/bispecific-antibodies_12.htm), antibody engineering, antibody fragments, etc. have emerged, and the -mab suffix originally intended for monoclonal antibodies (https://www.creativebiolabs.net/biosimilars-of-monoclonal-antibodies.htm), which has been applied for many years to antibody drugs, has been far from meeting the real-world situation, and this time WHO has comprehensively updated the naming rule for antibody drugs.

Firstly, the suffixes, "-mab" was completely dropped and replaced by 4 types of suffixes, "-tug" for unmodified monoclonal antibodies, "-bart" for monoclonal antibodies with mutations in antibody Fc region", "-mig" for bispecific and multispecific antibodies, and "-ment" for antibody fragments.

There are also some changes in the suffixes of the generic names of antibody drugs, with "-ler-" for allergy antibodies, "-sto-" for immunostimulatory antibodies, and "-pru-" for immunosuppressive antibodies". In the old version of the rules, the midfix for immunomodulatory antibodies was collectively "-li-".

Monoclonal antibody
Taking the example of Pfizer/Merck's Avelumab, the IgG1 subtype was used and the Fc did not introduce mutations, preserving the ADCC effect. The first class suffix "-tug" should be used, and the midfix "-pru-" for immunosuppressive should be used. In summary, Avelumab should be called "aveprutug" when applying the new version of the naming rule.

Bispecific/polyclonal antibody
Taking Johnson & Johnson's EGFR/cMET bispecific antibody Amivantamab as an example, the new version of the rule applies the suffix "-mig", while the middle suffix still applies the anti-tumor "-ta-". In summary, Amivantamab should be called "Amivantamig" by applying the new version of the naming rule.

Antibody fragment (https://www.creativebiolabs.net/fab-fragment-antibodies_24.htm)
Take Sanofi's vWF antibody Caplacizumab as an example, the new version of the rule applies the suffix "-ment", while the midfix still applies the cardiovascular "-ci-". In summary, Caplacizumab should be called "Caplaciment" using the new version of the naming rule.

The new WHO generic name rules for antibody drugs mean that the "-mab" suffix, which has been in use for decades, is gone for good, and the new naming rules are more in line with the real-world situation where antibody drugs come in a variety of formats. In the future, it will be clear from the generic name of an antibody drug whether it is a monoclonal antibody, an engineered antibody, a bispecific antibody, or an antibody fragment.

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