ADCs Pipeline Update: Avacta Partners with ADC Therapeutics

On November 1, 2019, Avacta Group and ADC Therapeutics have announced a collaboration agreement for the development of novel drug candidates. Currently, product licensing agreements, technology licensing agreements, research and development agreements and clinical trial agreements are the common types of partnerships inked by developers that are currently focused on the development of ADCs pipeline.

What is the objective of the collaboration: The partnership will aim at the development of drugs combining ADC Therapeutics’ pyrrolobenzodiazepine-based cytotoxic warheads with Avacta’s Affimer targeting platform.

What are the financial terms of the agreement: The detailed financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. As per the publicly available details, ADC Therapeutics will cover all Avacta’s costs during the project. The firm also has the right to obtain exclusive licenses to the Affimer proteins for clinical development and commercialization.

What are Affimers: Affimers are small proteins that target and bind molecules on cellular surfaces in a manner analogous to monoclonal antibodies. The key difference is that affimers are optimized to enhance their structural stability. They are also more resistant than mAbs to changes in environmental pH and temperature.

How many of the ADCs in development have pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) as warhead: 

Pyrrolobenzodiazepines are a class of compounds that kill cells by binding their DNA and interfering with replication. In nature, they are made by a group of bacteria known as actinomycetes. Of the ADCs pipeline in development, around 12% have PBD as the payload / warhead.

ADCs pipeline

Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) are a class of cancer drugs that combine the targeting specificity of monoclonal antibodies with the cytotoxic potency of small-molecule drugs. ADCs bind to their target antigens such as HER-2 (ERBB2), Trop-2, EGFR on the surface of cancer cells and are internalized through receptor-mediated endocytosis. This process releases the cytotoxic drug from the antibody drug conjugates, which kills the cancer cell with high specificity and minimizes toxicity to healthy cells.

With such a strong development ADCs pipeline, the overall ADC therapeutics market is projected to be worth $15 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of over 20%. This fast-growing market offers immense opportunities for contract manufacturers, service providers, and technology developers.