Glythera and IONTAS, a biotechnology company offering cutting-edge antibody discovery using its Phage Display Technology, have agreed to collaboration in the development of the next-generation of antibody-drug conjugates for difficult-to-treat cancers. As part of the agreement, IONTAS will generate novel, fully human antibodies against specified targets for proof-of-concept studies while Glythera will have an option for exclusive, worldwide rights to resulting antibodies for the development of ADCs alongside its proprietary conjugation platform, PermaLink® and its in-house portfolio of novel cytotoxic ‘payload’ drugs.

The two companies will select and optimize multiple undisclosed antibodies for ADC development with Glythera exercising its option right to exclusively develop and commercialize the resulting antibodies in ADC formats. Glythera will continue to evaluate numerous ultra-potent ADC-relevant toxin classes, including novel and known mechanisms, with an intention to nominate its first clinical ADC candidate by 2019.

Phage display libraries
IONTAS will utilize its unique antibody discovery services and bespoke phage display libraries for antibody discovery. Glythera will subsequently generate PermaLink-based ADCs which have been shown to provide a near-100% improvement in tolerability when compared with maleimide-based ADCs in in-vivo models, as well as enhanced tumour cell-killing and an overall improvement in tumour response in xenograft models. The inherent stability of PermaLink permits the use of ultra-potent toxins for ADCs with enhanced efficacy and safety

Under the term of the agreement, IONTAS will receive undisclosed development and clinical milestone payments on each of the ADCs. Glythera will be responsible for the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any ADC products resulting from the agreement.

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“This Agreement reflects the ambition of IONTAS to establish broader relationships with partners for multiple antibody deals using our proprietary technology platforms. We believe our expertise and efficiency in antibody discovery will help Glythera with their ultimate short term goal of being in clinic by 2019,” John McCafferty, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer at IONTAS.

Ideal partner
“We identified IONTAS as the ideal partner for antibody discovery, due to their proprietary phage display technology and libraries, providing the potential for development of multiple antibodies. The combination of IONTAS’ experience and expertise, with our proven PermaLink platform, will support our mission to target difficult-to-treat tumours, and progress towards the clinic,” noted Dave Simpson, Chief Executive Officer at Glythera.