Iksuda Therapeutics and LegoChem Biosciences have confirmed that they have expanded their research collaboration and License Agreement to explore additional ADC programs. The collaboration is an expansion of the agreement the companies signed in April 2020. Under the terms of this agreement, Iksuda licensed global development and commercialization rights for three ADC programs using LegoChem’s ADC linker/toxin platform.
The expanded Agreement grants Iksuda the rights for three additional targets, bringing the total number of potential ADC programs using LegoiChem’s ADC platform technologies to six. Iksuda also gains access to LegoChem’s innovative and recently discovered novel DNA-modifying payload, supplementing LegoChem’s proprietary tumor-activated DNA toxins which were included in last year’s License Agreement.
“During a successful partnership since signing the multi-target License Agreement last year, Iksuda has nominated two ADC candidates which leverage the differentiated advantages of LegoChem prodrug payload technology, with preclinical development underway,” noted Dave Simpson, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Iksuda Therapeutics.
“We are excited to expand our research into next-generation best-in-class ADCs through this wider arrangement with LCB which includes a new payload. We anticipate the discovery of additional candidates for Iksuda’s growing ADC pipeline as a result of this agreement,” he added.
“We have built a strong partnership with Iksuda through the multi-target ADC platform license and LCB73 (CD19 ADC) product license agreements, completed last April and May respectively, said Yong-Zu Kim, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President of LegoChem.
“Our partnership has validated the superiority of LechoChem’s ADC platform technology and the competitive potential of IKS03 (formerly known as LCB73) as an innovative ADC drug. This validation has led to the execution of this expanded license agreement. We will continue to cooperate closely with Iksuda to accelerate the advancement of all LCB-related ADC candidates into clinic,” Kim added
Iksuda’s ADC programs target tumors that currently have limited treatment options and high relapse rates. The Company’s drug development pipeline is centered on the improved safety and efficacy conferred by tumor-activated, prodrug payloads in combination with stable conjugation technologies, including its proprietary novel PermaLink® platform. For example, IKS03 is a best-in-class CD19-targeting ADC delivering a tumor-activated prodrug pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD). The preclinical ADC is using Iksuda’s PermaLink® conjugation platform, a cysteine-specific, highly stable, and scalable vinyl pyridine-based chemistry to link the antibody with the cytotoxic payload. The payload is a sequence-selective DNA-interactive molecule developed by Femtogenix.
In preclinical studies, IKS03 demonstrates best-in-class efficacy (vs in-clinic and marketed CD19-targeted therapies) in in vivo xenograft models and significantly raised maximum tolerated dose (MTD) in non-human primate disease models, demonstrating its potential to be the leading anti-CD19 therapy in B-cell cancers. IND is planned for Q4 2021, with initial phase 1 patient data anticipated Q3 2022.
Iksuda recently announced that it has completed a $47 million financing round, co-led by Celltrion, Mirae Asset Capital and its subsidiaries, and Premier Partners to support the advancement of its lead ADC assets, including IKS03, and the expansion of its payload platform technologies. This expanded agreement with LCB enables research and development of a new class of payload, adding to Iksuda’s proprietary Protein Alkylating (ProAlk) tumor-activated payload platform, licensed from Göttingen University.
LegoChem Biosciences, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company has developed proprietary platform technologies, including ConjuAl, a conjugation chemistry, and linker that enable the design of ADCs with improved efficacy, safety, and tolerability compared with existing ADC drugs. Coupled with proprietary payloads, LegoChem is assembling a robust pipeline of innovative ADC programs in collaboration with global partners.
Featured Image – Laboratory. Photo Courtesy: 2019 Fotolia/Adobe