Glythera won a £1 million (approximately $1.13 million) grant from Innovate UK to support the development of antibody–drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics for difficult-to-treat cancers. The project will harness the U.K. firm’s PermaLink™ nonmaleimide conjugation platform and portfolio of toxins and antibodies to develop ADCs targeting antigens that are overexpessed on difficult-to-treat tumors.

Glythera said it will work with Covance on the program and aims to select an initial candidate to take into first-in-man studies in 2019.

“The funding by Innovate UK will help us identify novel ADCs for the potential treatment of a variety of cancers that are associated with high relapse rates to current treatment,” commented David Simpson, Ph.D., Glythera’s CEO. “These will then be prioritized for preclinical development. With Innovate UK’s support, we aim to build a portfolio of much needed, safe treatments to improve the lives of patients living with these devastating cancers.”

Established in 2012, Glythera is leveraging its PermaLink and PermaCarb™ platforms to develop antibody-based therapeutics against cancer and for other indications. PermaLink has been developed as a controlled, stable conjugation platform that includes a portfolio of linker designs for generating ADCs, conjugate vaccines, and for PEGylation (covalent conjugation with polyethylene glycol). The firm claims the platform offers improved linker stability compared with maleimide-based technologies.

Glythera's PermaCarb stable glycan technology comprises a highly stable sialic acid derivative that can be substituted directly for endogenous sialic acid on glycan structures. Glythera claims the technology is designed to enable the development of biotherapeutics that can be administered less frequently, or at lower doses.

Glythera established a collaboration with Avacta in July last year to evaluate the PermaLink platform combined with Avacta’s Affimer® technology for developing targeted alternatives to ADCs.