Glythera will use novel, fully human antibodies supplied by Iontas to develop next-generation antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) against unspecified “difficult-to-treat” cancers, the companies said today, under a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

The companies did say, however, that Iontas will receive undisclosed development and clinical milestone payments on each ADC developed, while Glythera will oversee the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of any ADC products resulting from the agreement.

Iontas’ antibodies will be developed against specified targets for proof-of-concept studies under the collaboration. The companies said they agreed to select “multiple” undisclosed antibodies, with Iontas using its discovery services and phage display antibody libraries, while Glythera will retain an option for exclusive, worldwide rights to those antibodies in the development of ADCs.

“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,” Glythera CEO Dave Simpson, Ph.D., said in a statement.

Glythera has agreed to generate the ADCs using its proprietary PermaLink® conjugation platform and its in-house portfolio of novel toxins. The company says its PermaLink-based ADCs have been shown to provide near-100% improvement in tolerability compared with maleimide-based ADCs in in vivo models, in addition to enhanced tumor cell-killing and overall improvement in tumor response in xenograft models.

PermaLink’s inherent stability allows for the use of ultrapotent toxins for the ADCs with enhanced efficacy and safety, according to Glythera.

Glythera added that it will continue to evaluate numerous ultrapotent ADC-relevant toxin classes, including novel and known mechanisms, with the goal of advancing its first clinical ADC candidate in two years.

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

The collaboration comes more than three months after Glythera won a £1 million (approximately $1.35 million) grant from Innovate UK to support the development of ADC therapeutics for difficult-to-treat cancers.

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