Drug companies are aggressively pursuing the development of antibody-drug conjugates or ADCs, powerful three-part bioconjugates comprising a specific antibody targeting molecule, a highly potent cytotoxin payload inhibiting intracellular processes necessary for cell survival, and a linker to connect them. Antibody-drug conjugates are designed to specifically target various forms of cancer, while, at the same time, not harming healthy tissues. However, the current generation of antibody-drug conjugates offers limited benefits to patients because they are heterogeneous drug mixtures containing variants with sub-optimal pharmaceutical properties.

Earlier today, during a plenary session of the 2015 World ADC Summit, being held in the Marriott Marquis & Marina, October 26-29, 2014 in San Diego, California, Randall Halcomb, PhD, Vice President Chemistry at Igenica Biotherapeutics, presented new data utilizing the company’s SNAP site-specific ADC linker technology.

Proprietary technology
The proprietary linker technology addresses major limitations of current and competitive approaches by providing a simple, fast and robust chemically-driven methods for linking a functional, cancer targeting, antibody and small molecule cytotoxic drug to produce antibody-drug conjugates with optimal and uniform ratios of drug to antibody (DAR). The SNAP technology results in a highly flexible bi-functional linker that, by design, yields homogeneous antibody-drug conjugates armed with the optimal toxin payload.

Igenica has successfully applied this technology to synthesize antibody-drug conjugates using multiple antibodies and a variety of payloads.

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At the World ADC Summit, Halcomb presented new data comparing the biophysical properties, in vitro potency, in vivo efficacy and pharmacokinetics of ADCs containing Igenica’s SNAP linkers compared to conventional ADCs. The presented findings validated the superiority of SNAP linkers in terms of uniformity, pharmacokinetics, stability and in vivo efficacy as compared to conventional antibody-drug conjugates.

SNAP linkers also enable improved process efficiency, including a fast, robust chemical conjugation and the ability to use traditional antibody production systems, in contrast to ADC approaches that require protein engineering.

Best Scientific Innovations
In addition, Igenica was recognized for its innovative SNAP technology as one of the finalist in the Best Scientific Innovation Category during the World ADC Awards ceremony, being held in conjunction with the World ADC Summit, on Sunday, October 26, 2014. This year, the winner of the category was Spirogen’s (part of AstraZeneca’s MedImmune) proprietary pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) technology which attaches highly potent cytotoxic agents to specific cancer-targeting antibodies using biodegradable linkers. Other finalists in this category included Catalent Pharma Solutions‘ (Redwood Bioscience) SMARTag Technology, CytomX Therapeutics‘ Probodies, and Sutro Biopharma‘s cell free expression system.

“Igenica’s proprietary site-specific SNAP technology represents a breakthrough in ADC uniformity, process efficiency and drug product profile for the next-generation of homogeneous ADCs,” explained Mary Haak-Frendscho, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Igenica. “Our innovative platform has the potential to produce drugs with lower toxicity and higher efficacy, representing an important benefit to cancer patients.”

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