ADC Therapeutics Sarl and BZL Biologics LLC have announced an exclusive licensing and collaboration agreement for an antibody against PSMA-positive prostate cancers.
PSMA is a cell-surface antigen on prostate cancer cells, and PSMA levels correlate directly with an aggressive, metastasizing phenotype.
The characteristics of PSMA - its cancer specificity, presence in 95% of prostate cancers, high level of expression, and rapid internalization - make it an ideal ADC target.
ADC Therapeutics plans to initiate pre-IND development of a PSMA-specific ADC immediately, adding to ADC Therapeutics’ portfolio of proprietary ADC programs.
Its unique platform combines monoclonal antibodies specific to particular types of tumor cells, in this case PSMA, with a novel class of highly potent pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD)-based warheads.
As ADC Therapeutics PBD-based chemistries do not distort the structure of the DNA it gives the prospect of highly potent, target-selective cancer therapies with fewer side effects and the potential to pre-empt resistance issues faced by other anti-cancer products on the market.
Dr Neil H. Bander, Director of Urological Oncology Research at Weill Cornell Medical College from where the anti-PSMA antibody was licensed, said: “We have direct experience with virtually every antibody-drug conjugate platform currently available; none have produced the level of efficacy we have seen with ADC Therapeutics’ PBD warheads - in vivo efficacy data from their PSMA-targeted ADC drug candidate are truly exciting, and we are excited to see this potentially breakthrough therapy translated into a clinic program as soon as possible.”
Dr. Peter B. Corr, Chairman of ADC Therapeutics and Managing General Partner of Auven Therapeutics, said: “Having the technology platform to develop novel ADCs against important cancer targets and transform healthcare outcomes for patients is a critical part of what we are building at ADC Therapeutics. We are pleased to have established this exclusive relationship with the outstanding team in Dr. Bander’s laboratories at Weill-Cornell.”
Financial terms were not disclosed and remain confidential.