Earlier this month, the 8th World ADC meeting, held September 20 – 22, 2017 in San Diego and organized by Hanson Wade, offered a detailed presentation across multiple-streams of learning, covering every element of antibody-drug conjugates development – from early discovery, development, manufacturing and clinical programs.

Experts in the field shared information on identifying novel tumor associated antigens, effectively translating into the clinic and ensuring readiness for commercial scale manufacturing of antibody-drug conjugates. One of the exciting – and festive – programs was the announcement of the winners of the the 2017 Annual World ADC Awards.

Innovation, leadership and devotion
Now in it’s 4th year, the Annual World ADC Awards held during the 8th World ADC, showcased innovation, leadership and devotion by a select number of companies, teams and individuals in the industry.

The Awards, across 9 categories recognizes the extraordinary endeavors, teamwork and commercial acumen that has propelled the field of antibody-drug development to the forefront of cancer research and beyond

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This year, the awards ceremony, sponsored by AbbVie, Immunogen, Ambrx, and Medimmune, took place on September 21 at the Sheraton San Diego Marina. The Awardees were shortlisted from  over 1600 votes cast and scientific proposals from each submission  were evaluated by our Judging panel.

“Every year the judges are impressed with the level of innovation and scientific breakthroughs that these companies are driving. This year is no exception and we are delighted to see the calibre and quantity of entries – showing the growing momentum and advances being made within the industry,” noted Fiona Mistri, World ADC San Diego’s Program Director.

“The World ADC Awards showcase excellence within the antibody-drug conjugate-field. This year’s winners represent once again the dedication, leadership and innovation that exists in this crucial area of oncology therapeutics,”  said Jagath Reddy Junutula, Ph.D, Vice President of Research & Development at Cellerent Therapeutics and judge of the Awards.

Junutula is a recognized expert in antibody-drug conjugate development and most recently spent over 10 years at Genentech, where he led cross-functional R&D teams in both ADC and bi-specific antibody-based cancer immunotherapeutic programs in the Discovery Oncology, Research and Early Development Division.

“These Awards shine a spotlight on these companies leading the field and as a judge once again I was delighted to see the growing momentum and progress within the field,” Junutula added.

Best Contract Manufacturing (CMO) Provider
This year, Lonza won in the category Best Contract Manufacturing Provider. Celebrating 10 years of milestones in the manufacturing of antibody-drug conjugates, intermediates, drug substance process development and manufacturing, the company has been working with many clients to deliver innovative lifesaving targeted therapies in the form of antibody-drug conjugates to oncology patients worldwide.

Lonza’s clear dedication to the antibody-drug conjugates promise of reduced systemic toxicity and improved clinical outcome has shaped the company’s investments and strategy, which, according to Lonza, will continue to evolve to help drug innovators deliver on the promise of more effective therapeutics to meet the unmet medical needs of (cancer) needs.

Most Promising Clinical Candidate
In the category ‘Most Promising Clinical Candidate‘ ImmunoGen won this year with their investigational agent mirvetuximab soravtansine, also known was IMGN853. The novel antibody-drug conjugate specifically targets folate receptor alpha (FRα)-expressing cancer cells and kills them with an anticancer agent known as the maytansinoid DM4.

Data from a pooled analyses of three Phase I expansion cohorts, as well as from a Phase Ib/II clinical study known as FORWARD II (NCT02606305) has shown encouraging activity in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. In a subset including 36 patients meeting inclusion criteria, including platinum-resistant disease and medium or high levels of FRα, who had received prior therapy showed a response rate of 47% and a median progression-free survival of 6.7 months.

Best New Drug Developer
Mersana Therapeutics won in the category ‘Best New Drug Developer.’ The clinical-stage biotechnology company develops novel antibody-drug conjugates with a with highly differentiated and proprietary development platforms that allow for significantly higher drug loads, with the potential to provide greater efficacy while simultaneously increasing tolerability.  The company’s lead product candidate, XMT1522, is in Phase I clinical trials. A second product candidate, XMT1536, is expected to be entering clinical trials in early 2018.

In 2016 the Mersana received an award of ‘Best ADC Platform Technology’ for the company’s Dolaflexin® technology. The awards recognized the company, the company’s scientific leadership and innovation within antibody-drug conjugate research.

4th World ADC Awards (2017)WinnerRunner-up
Best Platform TechnologyBicycle TherapeuticsSynAffix
Most Promising Clinical CandidateImmunoGen (Mirvetuximab soravtansine)Stemcentrx
Best CMO ProviderLonzaBSP Pharmaceuticals
Best New Drug DeveloperMersanaHeidelberg Pharma
Best CRO ProviderPPDSynGene
Best Publication 2016A Biparatopic HER2-Targeting Antibody-Drug Conjugate Induces Tumor Regression in Primary Models Refractory to or Ineligible for HER2-Targeted Therapy.Li JY, Perry SR, Muniz-Medina V, Wang X, Wetzel LK, Rebelatto MC, Hinrichs MJ, et al.Cancer Cell. 2016 Jan 11;29(1):117-29. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2015.12.008.Targeted drug delivery through the traceless release of tertiary and heteroaryl amines from antibody-drug conjugates.Staben LR, Koenig SG, Lehar SM, Vandlen R, Zhang D, Chuh J, Yu SF, et al.Nat Chem. 2016 Dec;8(12):1112-1119. doi: 10.1038/nchem.2635.
Individual Input to the Field 2016Gregory Winter
Long Standing ContributionJagath Reddy Junutula


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