Tuesday, April 29, 2014

ADCs: Where is There Room for Improvement?

There’s been an explosion of interest in antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) over the last few years.  Those in the field now find themselves asking “Why shouldn’t we work with ADCs?” rather than “Why should we?”.   Bob Lutz, VP of Translational Research and Development at ImmunoGen, says this is a big departure from only a short time ago.  We recently caught up with Bob to pick his brain on some of the other developments in the field.  Check out what he had to say.  

What do you think will be the most important factors leading to increased success in the ADC field?

Interesting question. I think the biggest game changer wouldn’t point at any particular technology at this point. I think the biggest game changer will be that instead of about 50 scientists working on the problems in the field say, 10-15 years ago, maybe there are as many as 5,000 working now. I think that increased brain power is the most important factor that will lead to future successes. So many more things will be tried. We’ll learn so much more from each other as we watch what succeeds and what fails and that is very exciting.

To me, I think if I had to pick technologies, where I’m most hopeful they’ll make a difference is change from antibodies only as the delivery vehicle. I think the new scaffolds do provide an area of design flexibility that will make a big difference. I don’t know which ones will be the right ones. I don’t know which properties will be the right properties. But, what we’re going to get over the next half a decade is real insights to which ones do seem to provide an important event.

Then I think the other big factor for me that I would pick on the technology side, we’ve been doing a lot of work on upfront design of the ADC and what we haven’t done is spent much time on what happens to it once it starts to be degraded, once it starts to metabolize in the body. I actually think that will be when we start really focusing on design elements that deal with where it goes, what happens to it after. Very similar to, in our own lives, our consumer society going into waste management. Recycling and all that was an understanding – we had to pay attention to what happens after we’ve used something the way we’ve wanted. I think for ADCs that will be the same thing. We need to deal with ADC design options that impact what happens to the compound after it is removed from circulation. I think that will be the next important advance. I think there is only a little bit of work going on in that area at the moment.

Bob will be keynoting at the Bioconjugates: From Targets to Therapeutics conference June 4-6 in San Francisco. You can catch him as well as the rest of our lineup of industry thought leaders.  Register here and save 20% as a reader of our blog.  Use discount code D14199BLOG.

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