This week, during the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) annual Pantheon Ceremony (DiNA Awards), Sutro Biopharma received the Outstanding Partner Award. By giving this award to Sutro, the CLSA recognized the company for its life science achievements throughout 2015.
The recognition of Sutro Biopharma is, in part, based on the development of novel mono- and bi-specific antibody-drug conjugates or ADCs using the company’s cell-free biologics development platforms, Xpress CF and Xpress CF+.
In addition, Sutro’s ADC technology, which allows researchers to incorporate non-natural amino acids at any site in an antibody structure, has been developed to allow loading of an antibody with multiple different agents and to enable a potential higher uptake of the drug in the tumor cell through improved stability of antibody-drug conjugates.
In October 2014, Sutro entered into a broad strategic collaboration and option agreement with Celgene Corporation to discover and develop multi-specific antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates. The scope of the agreement also included identification of novel targets, such as PD-1 and PD-L1.
The same year Sutro entered a multi-target strategic collaboration with EMD Serono (part of Merck KGaA; Darmstadt, Germany) to discover and develop novel ADCs. This collaboration allows the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA to take advantage of Sutro’s technology platforms in its oncology programs to develop ADCs for multiple undisclosed targets.
ADCs have the potential for directly targeting cancer cells while safeguarding healthy tissue. Using this technology, researchers at Sutro are combining Merck KGaA’s knowledge about target biology with their own technological and discovery capabilities to jointly develop novel ADCs.
In 2014, at the time of concluding the agreement, Andree Blaukat, Senior Vice President and Head of Translational Innovation Platform Oncology at Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany noted: “We continue to explore opportunities that will allow us to better understand the potential ADCs have in directly targeting cancer cells and our collaboration with Sutro is reflective of our ongoing commitment to advancing innovation that may provide new therapies for patients.”
By creating strategic partnerships, Sutro aims to advance the company’s position as a leading drug discovery partner to leading pharmaceutical companies as well as develop drug candidates that may ultimately address the unmet medical needs of patients as.
These unique partnerships allow researchers at Sutro to advance their efforts to develop antibody therapeutics, engineered to deliver a cytotoxic agent to cancer cells. The Outstanding Partner Award bestowed by the California Life Sciences Association confirms the validity of Sutro strategic partnerships approach.
“We are honored to pioneer a new generation of cancer therapeutics with our partners Celgene and EMD Serono,” noted William Newell, chief executive officer of Sutro Biopharma. “This award recognizes our partnerships as first-rate collaborations designed to achieve the best for patients and health care providers. Our platform and product development efforts bear enormous promise. These collaborations have worked to accelerate the development of oncology therapeutics, with compelling patient benefit.”
“Cell-free biologics development platforms
Xpress CF and Xpress CF+, a biochemical synthesis system that enables rapid and systematic evaluation of protein structure-activity relationships, as well as rapid and predictable scalability for manufacturing in Sutro’s cGMP facility, are key elements to its strategic collaborations, driving forward the development of next generation immuno-oncology therapeutics.
At the end of October, to help advance the company’s cutting-edge manufacturing capability, Sutro unveiled the only cGMP cell-free manufacturing facility in the world. In this new facility, the company will be able to produce highly their specialized and selective protein based cancer therapeutics more quickly, efficiently and in greater amounts than before.
A Blossoming Community
The California Life Sciences Association annual Pantheon Ceremony shows the strength and the importance of the pharmaceutical industry for the state. It also showcases the solutions innovators like Sutro are developing to meet the medical needs of patients.
“California’s life sciences community continues to blossom and grow to new heights thanks to our statewide innovators, entrepreneurs and executives,” noted Sara Radcliffe, President & CEO of California Life Sciences Association (CLSA). “The high caliber of this year’s awardees is a testament to the strength of our sector, and a promise of big things to come. With 2,848 life sciences companies employing nearly 300,000 people all across the state, California’s life sciences community is an increasingly important driver of our economy and the source of promising innovations for patients and consumers around the world,” she continued.