ADC Technology Overview: ADC Linker and Antibody Conjugation
The ADC technology market, comprising of ADC linker and antibody conjugation technologies is expected to grow at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of ~15% during the forecast period. Antibody drug conjugates have emerged as a promising alternative to the conventional anti-cancer therapies. Till date, around 14 ADCs have received the USFDA approval, while over 420 antibody drug conjugates are currently being evaluated under different stages of development. Antibody drug conjugate is a complex and versatile class of biotherapeutics, in which linker moiety is attached to the cytotoxic payload. However, the complex structure and design of antibody drug conjugates poses a greater challenge in overall tolerability and efficacy of the molecule. As a result, more advanced and efficacious antibody drug conjugate technology is required to generate the controlled assembly of antibody drug conjugates while maintaining tolerability and safety profiles. Antibody / ADC conjugation technologies generally involve modification / engineering of an antibody in order to conjugate it with a payload / linker-drug moiety. On the other hand, ADC linker technologies involve development of a structural moiety to link the payload with an antibody in a reliable manner with desired payload delivery mechanics. These technologies are optimized to produce homogenous antibody drug conjugate with high drug to antibody ratio (DAR). In fact, ADCs developed using these technologies have demonstrated improved stability and efficacy in tumor micro-environment.
Homogenous ADCs with optimized linker technologies offer reduced immunogenicity, enabling the targeted delivery of linker-payload complex at the desired site without having any side effects. Owing to the aforementioned advantages, several start-ups and established players have entered the field of ADC linker and conjugation technologies, offering novel conjugation / bioconjugation technologies, more potent payloads and advanced linker chemistries. These players have inked several licensing agreements to advance their ADC development programs. It is worth mentioning that researchers and antibody drug conjugate developers are actively relying on ADC linker and conjugation technology companies that offer technical expertise and experience in this market. Driven by the growing demand for antibody drug conjugates, the ADC linker and conjugation technologies market is anticipated to witness substantial market growth during the forecast period.
Key Market Insights
The Antibody Drug Conjugates: Focus on ADC Linker and Conjugation Technologies (2nd Edition) - Distribution by Generation of Technology (Third-Generation, Second-Generation and Next-Generation), Type of Conjugation (Chemical, Chemoenzymatic and Chemical), Type of Linker (Cleavable and Non-Cleavable), Type of Payment Model Adopted (Upfront Payments and Milestone Payments), and Key Geographical Regions (North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World): Industry Trends and Global Forecasts, 2023-2035 market report features an extensive study of the current market landscape, market size and future opportunities associated with the ADC linker and antibody conjugation industry, during the given forecast period. The market report highlights efforts of several stakeholders engaged in this rapidly emerging segment of the pharmaceutical industry. Key takeaways of the ADC technology market are briefly discussed below.
Rising Interest in ADC Linker and Antibody Conjugation Technology for the Development of Homogenous Antibody Drug Conjugate
In 2000, the USFDA approved the first ADC, Mylotarg. However, it was withdrawn voluntarily from the market due to safety concerns and poor clinical benefits of the product. With continued research in the area of ADCs, innovators have identified various factors that determine the success of an antibody drug conjugate; these include structure and design of an antibody drug conjugate, systemic toxicity, validation of tumor biomarkers, choice of antibody and potency of the payload. The challenges associated with conventional drug products have led to the development of advanced ADC linker and ADC conjugation technologies. These technologies have the potential to develop antibody drug conjugates with improved stability and toxicity profile, while maintaining efficient release of the cytotoxic payload at the desired location. The most important characteristic of these technologies is the production of controlled, homogenous ADCs, which are site-selective and can be utilized as a targeted anti-cancer therapy. We anticipate that the growing demand for targeted, stable and non-toxic ADCs will continue to drive the adoption and market growth of ADC linker technology and antibody conjugation technologies for development of antibody drug conjugates during the forecast period.
Current Market Landscape of ADC Technologies
The ADC technologies market landscape features an extensive list of over 65 large, mid-sized and small companies that offer more than 95 ADC linker and conjugation technologies. These platforms include linker technologies, linker-payload technologies and antibody conjugation technologies for the development of ADC. It has been observed that the majority of the antibody drug conjugates generated via these ADC technologies are site specific, have high tolerability and precise DAR ratio. In addition, we believe that third-generation technologies are poised to play a significant role in shaping the future market landscape, by enabling the development of new therapeutic modalities that were previously considered unattainable. The constant evolution of ADC linkers and conjugation technologies will support the development of novel and more efficacious ADCs. In turn, the growing ADC therapy market will drive the demand for these technologies, contributing to substantial CAGR of ADC technology market during the forecast period.
ADC Technology Market Size
The ADC technology market, comprising of ADC linker and antibody conjugation technologies is expected to grow at a CAGR of ~15% during the forecast period. Driven by the growing interest of stakeholders in addressing the efficiency and safety related concerns with antibody drug conjugates, the ADC linker and conjugation technologies market is anticipated to witness tremendous market growth in the foreseen future.
Based on mechanism of drug release, the linkers are categorized as cleavable or non cleavable linkers. Majority of the approved ADCs use cleavable linkers and based on the current late-stage pipeline of ADCs, the global ADC technology market is anticipated to be driven by cleavable linkers in the short term.
North America and Europe to Compete for the Largest Share of ADC Linker and Antibody Conjugation Technologies Market
Close to 80% of the market share is estimated to be captured by companies based in North America and Europe. This can be attributed to the escalating partnership activity in these regions. It is interesting to note that 78% of the total deals were inked by players based in North America and Europe during the time period, 2014-2023. Further, some of the companies based in these developed regions, such as Mersana Therapeutics, Seattle Genetics and Zymeworks offer several antibody conjugation and ADC linker technology / platforms. These platforms are either second-generation or third-generation technologies that offer chemical site specific conjugation. Moreover, all these players have in-house ADC portfolio for testing the potential of their technologies and resulting in the development of innovative cancer therapies.
Adoption of Different Business Models by the ADC Linker and Antibody Conjugation Technology Companies
The growing demand for antibody drug conjugates for the treatment of various forms of cancer, especially breast cancer, has paved the way for continued innovation in antibody conjugation technologies. In order to access these advanced ADC technologies for the development of antibody drug conjugate, several business deals have been inked over the past few years. It is interesting to note that technology out-licensing and collaborative research are the most popular type of business models adopted by stakeholders in this industry. It is worth highlighting that Synaffix has received / is likely to receive close to USD 5.5 billion from out licensing their ADC conjugation platform. In June 2023, Lonza acquired Synaffix, getting access to the latter’s ADC technologies for payload and site-specific linkers. Another company, Mersana Therapeutics expects to receive nearly USD 2 billion in total payments from their collaborative research efforts with several stakeholders engaged in ADC development. Substantial investments like these, along with ongoing technological innovations, will act as the key driver behind the evolution of ADC linker and antibody conjugation technologies market during the forecast period.
Partnership Activity in ADC linker and ADC Conjugation Technologies Market
In recent years, several partnerships have been inked by various stakeholders in order to consolidate their presence and enhance their capabilities and product portfolio to meet the growing demand for antibody drug conjugates. In fact, the partnership activity has witnessed a CAGR of ~30% in the past three years. Licensing agreements, product development agreements, and research and development agreements are the most common types of partnerships that have been inked in this industry.
In March 2022, Seattle Genetics entered into a research and development agreement with Sanofi for the development of three targets, focused on targeting cancer. In addition, it was observed that Mersana Therapeutics has signed several deals over the past few years for the development of various ADC candidates, targeting a wide array of cancers, including breast cancer, gastric cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The growing interest in novel antibody drug conjugates and rising number of deals focused on advancing conventional therapies for targeting various oncological indications will continue to drive the ADC technology market over the coming years.
Leading Companies in the ADC Conjugation Technologies Market
Examples of key players engaged in ADC technology industry (which have also been profiled in this report) include (in alphabetical order), Alteogen, Ambrx, Antikor, Catalent Biologics, Heidelberg Pharma, Iksuda Therapeutics, LegoChem Biosciences, Mersana Therapeutics, NBE-Therapeutics, Seattle Genetics and Sutro Biopharma. This market report includes an easily searchable, excel database of all the companies providing ADC technology related to ADC linkers or ADC conjugation worldwide.
Recent Developments in ADC Technology Market
Several recent developments have taken place in the field of ADC technology. We have outlined some of these recent initiatives below. These developments, even if they took place post the release of our market report, substantiate the overall market trends that have been outlined in our analysis.
- In July 2023, Ambrx announced that the FDA has granted Fast Track designation to ARX517, an proprietary investigational anti-PSMA antibody-drug conjugate therapy, for the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) upon progression on an androgen receptor pathway inhibitor.
- In July 2023, Mersana Therapeutics announced the publication of UPLIFT clinical trial’s topline data for the patients suffering from platinum-resistant ovarian cancer and strategic reprioritization.
- In June 2023, Ambrx announced the closing of registered market price by raising USD 75 million.
Scope of the Report
The market report presents an in-depth analysis of the various firms / organizations that are engaged in ADC technology market, across different segments, as defined in the table below:
|Key Report Attributes
||2023 – 2035
Generation of Technology
Type of Conjugation
Type of Linker
Type of Payment Model Adopted
- Upfront Payments
- Milestone Payments
|Key Geographical Regions
- North America
- Rest of the World
Key Companies Profiled
- Catalent Biologics
- Heidelberg Pharma
- Iksuda Therapeutics
- LegoChem Biosciences
- Mersana Therapeutics
- Seattle Genetics
- Sutro Biopharma
(Full list of 65+ companies captured in the market landscape analysis of the report)
|15% Free Customization Option
|Powerpoint Presentation (Complimentary)
Excel Data Packs
- Market Landscape Analysis
- Technology Competitiveness Analysis
- Patent Analysis
- Partnership and Collaborations
- Business Model Analysis
- Likely Partner Analysis
- Brand Positioning Analysis
- Case Study: ADC Therapeutics Market Landscape
- Market Forecast and Opportunity Analysis
The market report features an in-depth analysis, highlighting the capabilities of various stakeholders engaged in this industry. Amongst other elements, the market research report includes:
- An executive summary of the key insights captured during our research, offering a high-level view on the current state of the ADC linker and antibody conjugation technologies market and its likely evolution in the short to mid and long term.
- A brief introduction to the concept of antibody drug conjugates, its various components, mechanisms of action and advantages over traditional targeted therapies. The chapter emphasizes on the role of ADC linker and antibody conjugation technologies in the development of ADC therapeutics. Subsequently, it provides an overview of different types of linkers and conjugation technologies, listing their specifications. It also features a brief discussion on the challenges related to the development of associated technologies, offering insights on anticipated future trends.
- A detailed review of the overall landscape of ADC linker and conjugation technologies, based on a number of parameters, such as type of technology (antibody conjugation technology, linker technology, linker-payload technology, and antibody linker and conjugation technology), availability of licensing, generation of ADC technology (first-generation, second-generation, third-generation and next-generation), site specificity (site specific, non-specific , and both, site specific / non-specific), type of conjugation (chemical, chemoenzymatic and enzymatic), drug antibody ratio, compatible linker (cleavable, non-cleavable, and both, cleavable / non-cleavable), conjugation chemistry (cysteine-based, click chemistry, lysine-based, transpeptidation using enzymes, maleimide-based, glycan conjugation and others), conjugation site (engineered, modified, endogenous and exogenous), type of linker (cleavable, non-cleavable, and both, cleavable / non-cleavable). It also includes information on ADC linker and antibody conjugation technology companies, based on several parameters, such as their year of establishment, company size (small, mid-sized and large) and location of headquarters (North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific and rest of the world).
- An in-depth technology competitiveness analysis of ADC linker and conjugation technologies, segmented into three categories, namely small (2-50 employees), mid-sized (51-500 employees) and large (>500 employees) players. Within the respective peer groups, technologies were ranked based on various relevant parameters, such as portfolio strength (based on the years of experience), technology competitiveness (based on parameters, such as status of technology, availability of licensing, generation of technology, site specificity, type of conjugation, drug antibody ratio, compatible linker, conjugation chemistry, conjugation site and drugs developed using a technology), as well as partnership activity (in terms of number of partnerships). The analysis was designed to enable stakeholder companies to compare their existing capabilities within and beyond their respective peer groups and identify opportunities to achieve a competitive edge in the industry.
- Tabulated profiles of prominent companies that are currently engaged in offering ADC linker and ADC conjugation technologies. Each profile features a brief overview of company (with information on year of establishment, number of employees, location of headquarters and key members of the leadership team), details related to their respective technology portfolio, recent developments and an informed future outlook.
- A detailed review of the patents that have been filed / granted for ADC linker and ADC conjugation technologies during the time period 2018-2023, based on important parameters such as, type of patent, publication year, application year, number of granted patents and patent applications, patent jurisdiction, focus area, CPC symbols, patent age, type of applicant (on the basis of number of patents), and individual patent assignees (in terms of size of intellectual property portfolio). It also features a detailed patent benchmarking analysis and an insightful patent valuation analysis, highlighting the leading patents (in terms of number of citations).
- An analysis of the partnerships inked between various stakeholders for ADC technologies, during the period 2014-2023, featuring a detailed set of analysis based on various parameters, such as year of partnership, type of partnership, type of partner, generation of technology, type of linker, type of conjugation, target therapeutic area(s), most popular technologies, most active players and geographical location of the companies.
- An insightful analysis on business models adopted by various ADC technology providers engaged in this industry along with the information on parameters, such as year of partnership, purpose of partnership (merger / acquisition, product commercialization, product development, product distribution, research, research and development, technology / product integration, technology transfer), type of business strategy adopted (technology-out licensing, technology-in licensing, product out-licensing, product in-licensing, collaborative research and others), type of investment (upfront payments and milestone payments), amount invested and most active players.
- An in-depth analysis of over 85 antibody drug conjugate therapeutics developers that are likely to partner with ADC linker and conjugation technology companies in the near future, based on several relevant parameters, such as developer score (based on year of establishment and company size), portfolio score (based on type of linker and antibody structure), pipeline score (based on stage of development of a drug and number of pre-clinical molecules) and therapeutic area.
- An insightful brand positioning analysis of prominent antibody conjugation technology providers (shortlisted based on the number of conjugation technologies developed), highlighting the current perceptions regarding their proprietary technologies by taking into consideration several relevant aspects, such as experience of the technology provider, number of technologies offered, product diversity, number of patents and number of partnerships.
- A detailed case study on overall landscape of the antibody drug conjugates market, based on a number of parameters, such as stage of development, target disease indication, therapeutics area, line of treatment, dosing frequency, type of therapy, target antigen, antibody isotype, payload / cytotoxin / warhead, payload type, type of linker, type of linker (cleavable / non-cleavable). It also features details on antibody drug conjugate developers, including information on their year of establishment, company size and location of headquarters and most active players.
- A detailed market forecast analysis to estimate the existing market size and the future opportunity for ADC linker and antibody conjugation technologies supporting ADC development, during the given forecast period, 2023-2035. The overall opportunity has been distributed across various segments, such as generation of technology (third-generation, second-generation, and next-generation), type of conjugation (chemical, chemoenzymatic and enzymatic), type of linker (cleavable and non-cleavable), type of payment model adopted (Upfront payments and milestone payments), and key geographical regions (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and rest of the world). In order to account for future uncertainties and to add robustness to our model, we have provided three forecast scenarios, namely conservative, base and optimistic scenarios, representing different tracks of the industry’s growth.
The opinions and insights presented in the report were influenced by our discussions with senior stakeholders in the industry. The market research report features detailed transcripts of interviews held with the following industry stakeholders:
- Cedric Lizin (Board Member, Singzyme)
- Jiaqiang Cai (Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, MedLink Therapeutics)
- Kai Uhrig (Head of Strategy and Business Development, Merck KGaA)
- Saptarshi Ghosh (Scientist II, Abzena)
- Mary Chaohong Hu (Chief Executive Officer, Miracogen)
- Floris van Delft (Chief Scientific Officer, Synaffix)
- Jan Modregger (Head of Research and Development, Eucodis Bioscience)
- Okuzumi-Tatsuya (General Manager, Research and Development, Ajinomoto) and Brian Mendelsohn (Director of ADC Process Development and Tech Transfer, Ajinomoto)
- Wouter Verhoeven (Former Chief Business Officer, NBE-Therapeutics)
All actual figures have been sourced and analyzed from publicly available information forums and primary research discussions. Financial figures mentioned in this report are in USD, unless otherwise specified.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: What is antibody conjugation technology? Answer:
Antibody conjugation technology refers to a technology that is designed to increase the absorption of cytotoxic drug molecules at the desired location, resulting in the formation of site specific homogenous antibody drug conjugates.
Question 2: What is an ADC linker? Answer:
Linker is one of the components of an ADC. It helps in connecting antibody with the cytotoxic payload.
Question 3: What types of linkers are used in antibody drug conjugates? Answer:
Two types of linkers are used in ADCs; cleavable linkers, which release the cytotoxic payload near the desired location resulting in killing of the tumor and neighboring cells and non-cleavable linkers, which release the potent payload at the desired site minimizing off-site toxicity.
Question 4: What is site specific conjugation of ADC? Answer:
Site specific conjugation of ADC refers to attaching the linker to a defined site on an antibody resulting in the production of homogeneous and controlled structures of antibody drug conjugate.
Question 5: What are the technologies used in ADC? Answer:
Antibody drug conjugate industry conventionally use three technologies; first-generation, second generation and third generation. However, now-a-days, next generation technologies are also emerging, offering development of site specific ADCs.
Question 6: What are the key factors driving the ADC linker and antibody conjugation technologies market? Answer:
The ADC linker and antibody conjugation technologies market is currently driven by the growing prevalence of oncological disorders, ageing population and increased interest of researchers in novel therapeutic interventions.
Question 7: Which types of partnerships are forged by ADC linker and ADC conjugation technology providers? Answer:
Licensing agreements, product development and R&D agreements are the most common partnership models adopted by stakeholders engaged in the ADC linker and conjugation technologies market.
Question 8: Which are the leading technology providers in the ADC conjugation market? Answer:
Leading technology providers include Alteogen, Ambrx, Antikor, Catalent Biologics, Heidelberg Pharma, Iksuda Therapeutics, LegoChem Biosciences, Mersana Therapeutics, NBE-Therapeutics, Seattle Genetics and Sutro Biopharma.
Question 9: Which region has the highest market share in ADC linker and conjugation technologies market? Answer:
North America and Europe capture around 80% share in the global ADC linker and conjugation technologies market. Emerging regions, such as Asia-Pacific, are likely to grow relatively fast in the long term.
Question 10: What is the likely growth rate (CAGR) of ADC linker and conjugation technologies market? Answer:
The global market size for ADC linker and ADC conjugation technologies is anticipated to grow at a compound annualized growth rate (CAGR) of ~15% during the forecast period 2023-2035.