Authored by James Sheppard
ADC Therapeutics was launched in 2012 after Auven Therapeutics (previously known as Celtic Therapeutics) launched the company with initial funding of $50m. These funds were further added to buy Auven Therapeutics and Medimmune (part of AstraZeneca) who announced an equity investment in the company as well as partnering with ADC Therapeutics for two of their ADC programmes. The company which is based out of Lausanne, Switzerland has had a full and active start to life as a biotech venture.
ADC Therapeutics, as the name implies, is specialising in the development of proprietary antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) target solid tumour and haematological cancer indications. The company already has 10 ADC oncology development programs, targeting multiple major cancers, including prostate, renal, breast, lung and blood cancers by combining monoclonal antibodies with a novel class of highly potent pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) warheads. ADC Therapeutics has set its stall out early by saying that as soon as any assets reach phase II (POC) proof of concept, ADC will look for strategic marketing partners. ADC Therapeutics expects to achieve phase II studies in several programmes within the next 3-5 years.
The advantageous position ADC finds itself in means that ADC Therapeutics has built an impressive management team to take the company forward under a virtual business model. Michael Forer, who founded Rosetta Capital was appointed CEO and built an impressive team around him. As SVP Research & Development, ADC appointed former Genmab executive Dr Patrick van Berkel. ADC has a partner agreement in place with Genmab. Also they have ex-CEO of Spirogen, Dr Chris Martin, as Director and Collaboration Manager. The company has had a deal in place with Spirogen (previously an Auven Therapeutics company before last year’s acquisition by AstraZeneca) for their warhead and linkers chemistries.
After ADC’s formation they quickly were into their stride with a number of partnering or alliance deals. Firstly ADC Therapeutics joined forces with UK based Cancer Research Technology, deal terms or targets were not disclosed. Hot on the heels of this deal, ADC Therapeutics signed the deal with Genmab to develop a new antibody drug conjugate product combining Genmab’s HuMax-TAC antibody and ADCs PBD warhead and linker. The deal will see the companies collaborate to create next generation PBD-based warhead technology for multiple cancer indications. ADC has also signed a number of other deals including with VivaMab, BZL Biologics and Five Prime Therapeutics.
This Swiss based biotech is certainly gaining a lot of attention and with antibody drug conjugate technologies highly attractive to pharmaceutical companies, the continuation of a very early success in partnering would seem set to continue.
Liftstream is an executive search and interim management recruitment company working solely within the global life science field.