Catalent Pharma Solutions today announced that it has acquired an exclusive license to market Redwood Bioscience’s proprietary SMARTag™ precision protein-chemical engineering technology for the development of advanced antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Redwood’s novel, site-specific protein modification and linker technologies enable the generation of homogenous bioconjugates engineered to enhance potency, safety and stability. Combined with Catalent’s proprietary GPEx® cell line expression system, its brand new state-of-the-art biomanufacturing Center of Excellence in Madison, Wisconsin and broad range of bioanalytical and fill-finish services, this deal marks a further expansion of Catalent’s capabilities to help customers develop more and better biologic treatments.
ADCs combine the targeted binding specificity and half-life benefits of monoclonal antibodies with the potency advantages of small molecule chemotherapy or therapeutic agents. With the FDA’s recent approval of Genentech’s T-DM1 (Kadcycla™) for metastatic breast cancer, and a large and growing list of products in clinical and pre-clinical development, ADCs are emerging as one of the fastest growing development areas in biologic anti-cancer treatment.
Redwood’s novel protein conjugation and linker technologies overcome the limitations associated with conventional protein chemistries that produce heterogeneous products with variable conjugate potency, toxicity and stability. The SMARTag technology enables site-specific, controlled drug-protein conjugation and uses only naturally occurring modifications to proteins requiring minimal cell-line engineering. Redwood’s technology provides control over conjugate configuration, generating ADCs with optimal efficacy, safety and stability. The Redwood platform also enables the use of proprietary linker chemistry that prevents systemic drug loss and increases targeted potency. Redwood has developed an array of linkers utilizing this novel chemistry, which are designed for optimal conjugation performance.
Under the terms of the agreement, Catalent will have the exclusive right to sub-license the SMARTag technology to customers and will work with Redwood to co-market the technology and support sub-license programs. As part of the collaboration, Catalent will also take a minority equity stake in Redwood, which may increase over time up to a potential acquisition.
“Our goal is to enable our biologics customers to create more and better treatments through advanced technologies and development solutions,” commented Barry Littlejohns, President of Catalent Medication Delivery Solutions “We believe that Redwood is an industry leader in site-specific conjugation. Their innovative technologies will provide significant value to our customers looking to develop next-generation ADC therapies.”
David Rabuka Ph.D., Redwood’s co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, added, “We are very excited to be closely allied with Catalent. The technical synergy between Redwood and Catalent is a unique opportunity to provide unparalleled access to the next generation of bioconjugates."