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ADC, precision and deep cultivation for targeted drug delivery

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Antibody conjugate (ADC) is the focus of tumor therapy research in recent years. Because of its good targeting and obvious clinical efficacy, ADC has become the frontier of antibody drug research and development and is one of the strategic focuses of new drug research and development in China.

Medicilon has a professional technical team and rich project research experience in preclinical research of ADC and can provide customers with a complete set of preclinical services. The composition of ADC is relatively complex. To reduce the risk of R&D, Medicilon has the responsibility and hopes to have the opportunity to work with colleagues in the pharmaceutical industry to promote the development of targeted therapeutic drugs.

Antibody conjugate (ADC) is a kind of drug which is obtained by coupling highly selective antibodies with Payloads with strong cytotoxicity through Linker. ADC Payloads are usually effective anti-mitotic cytotoxins or DNA alkylating agents or agents with other cell-killing mechanisms. ADC combines the targeting of monoclonal antibodies to tumor cells with the strong tumor lethality of cytotoxic drugs, and overcomes the problems of weak cytotoxicity of monoclonal antibodies and high systemic toxicity of cytotoxic drugs, with a therapeutic advantage of 1+1>2.


How ADCs exert their pharmacological effects on target cells

The History Of ADC Drugs Development

In 1906, the concept of "Magic Bullet" targeted therapy was first proposed;

In 1967, the ADC concept was first proposed;

In 1972, animal experiments were carried out with non-covalently coupled ADCs;

In 1975, animal experiments were carried out with covalently coupled ADCs;

In 1983, the first ADC drug was in clinical trials;

In 1993, the BR96-Doxorubicin conjugate (BMS-182248) achieved cure in a human tumor xenograft mouse model;

In 2009, Mylotarg (Pfizer) became the first approved ADC drug;

In 2010, Mylotarg was withdrawn from the US market;

In 2011, Adcetris (Takeda) was approved by the FDA;

In 2013, Kadcyla (Roche) was approved by the FDA;

In 2017, Besponsa (Pfizer) was approved by the FDA;

In 2017, Mylotarg (Pfizer) re-listed;

In 2019, three ADC drugs, Polivy (Roche), Padcev (Seagen and Astellas), and Enhertu (Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca), were approved by the FDA;

In 2020, Trodelvy (Gilead) and Blenrep (GlaxoSmithKline) were approved by the FDA;

In 2021, Zynlonta (ADC Therapeutics) and Aidixi (Rongchang Biotechnology) were approved;


Given the improvement of Payloads, Linker, and coupling methods, the development of ADC has made remarkable progress in the past decade. Especially, the design of Linker plays a key role in regulating the stability of ADC in systemic circulation and the release efficiency of Payloads in a tumor, thus affecting the pharmacokinetics (PK), pharmacodynamics, and toxicity characteristics of ADC.
So far, FDA has approved more than ten kinds of ADC drugs. Especially, Zynlonta, Trodelvy, Polivy, Enhertu, Adcetris, Kadtanstuzine, and Besponsa approved in recent years are expanding the application scope of ADC.
Therefore, the ADC drug market can be described as a crouching tiger, a hidden dragon. In 2020, Tours University of France published an article in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, predicting that the sales of ADC drugs will exceed $16.4 billion in 2026. Including five heavy drugs Enhertu, Padcev, Kadcyla, Adcetris, and Trodelvy.
Up to now, Medicilon has undertaken more than 100 IND application biopharmaceutical projects, including monoclonal antibodies, double antibodies, polyclonal antibodies, ADCs, viral vaccines and fusion proteins. As of May 2022, Medicilon has successfully helped 10 ADC drugs to be approved for clinical trails, and has multiple ADC projects under development. Medicilon has in-depth exchanges with customers in the formulation of the preclinical integrated research plan of ADC. The backbone of scientific research combines the characteristics of each case with years of practical experience and technical accumulation, and carefully submits high-quality experimental plans and results to customers.

Antibody-Drug Structural Patterns.jpg

Antibody-Drug Structural Patterns

Domestic pharmaceutical companies follow the upsurge of the ADC industry.

Domestic ADC drug R&D enthusiasm is high, and the competition is fierce. Most of the early companies that laid out ADC drugs were technology platform companies, such as Rongchang Bio, HANGZHOU DAC BIOTECHNOLOGY, Bio-Tech, Lepu Biopharma, etc.
RC48 biologically developed by Rongchang is one of the first domestic ADC drugs to enter clinical research in China. RC48, targeting HER2 protein on the surface of a tumor, can accurately identify cancer cells, combined with them, and penetrate the cell membrane into its interior, thus killing cancer cells.
HANGZHOU DAC BIOTECHNOLOGY is one of the enterprises with the largest ADC product layout in China. At present, it has more than 20 ADC R&D pipelines. HANGZHOU DAC BIOTECHNOLOGY has continuously introduced advanced platforms, committed to building a complete ADC R&D production chain, introduced a large number of advanced R&D, inspection, and pilot production equipment from Europe and America, and established a perfect R&D and pilot production platform. Have the ability to independently engage in research and development and production of ADC drugs.
DAC-002 is carrying out phase I clinical trials of HER2-positive advanced breast cancer and/or gastric cancer and advanced solid tumor, among which the clinical progress of DAC-002 is in the leading position among domestic TROP-2 ADC drugs.
Medicilon assisted Hangzhou DAC Biotech in approval of clinical study of ADC drug DAC-002
The launch meeting was held by Medicilon and DAC Biotech of the contract research on ADC preclinical study
Antibody-Drug Conjugate(ADC) Plarform

What is TROP2 protein?

Trop2 is a transmembrane glycoprotein encoded by the Tacstd2 gene. It is an intracellular calcium signal transducer that is differentially expressed in many cancers.
Trop2 is also called trophoblast antigen 2, cell surface glycoprotein Trop-2/Trop2, gastrointestinal tumor-associated antigen GA7331, pancreatic cancer marker protein GA733-1/GA733, membrane component 1 chromosome surface marker 1 M1S1, epithelial glycoprotein-1, EGP-1, CAA1, gelatinous drop corneal dystrophy GDLD and TTD2. It is encoded by the gene Tacstd2. It is about 35 kDa.
Trop2 crosses the cell membrane: it has the extracellular domain, transmembrane domain and intracellular domain, and cytoplasmic tail which is necessary for signal transduction.
Trop2 is expressed in many normal tissues, but in contrast, it is over-expressed in many cancers, and the over-expression of Trop2 has prognostic significance.
Trop2 is considered a prognostic factor and marker of many cancers. Trop2 mutation is directly related to GDLD, but no known Trop2 mutation is related to cancer. It has been reported that Trop2 is overexpressed in the following solid tumor cancers: breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, some lung cancers, oral squamous cell carcinoma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, thyroid cancer, bladder cancer, and uterus.
Therefore, the research on anti-tumor drugs targeting Trop2 is of great significance. Currently, various forms of drugs such as antibodies, antibody conjugates, and combination drugs targeting Trop2 are being developed.
Among them, Medicilon completed the preclinical pharmacokinetic and toxicological research in the research of DAC Biotech ADC drug DAC-002, which accelerated the research and development process. DAC-002 is an ADC drug with anti-Trop2 monoclonal antibody coupled with anti-Tubulysin B analog through an intelligent linker, which is used to treat Trop2 triple-negative breast cancer, small cell lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
In addition, MUC1 ADC is the first ADC drug targeting Muc1 in China. In early April 2021, the clinical trial application of "recombinant humanized anti-MUC1 monoclonal antibody -Tub201 coupling agent for injection" declared by DAC Biotech was accepted, and the clinical license has now been obtained. Among them, Medicilon provided a complete set of preclinical research services, including pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and safety evaluation, in the research and development of Muc1 new drugs, which helped the successful clinical approval of the project.
In addition, Lepu Bio, etc. also has several ADC drugs in the clinical stage. Lepu Bio is committed to developing ADC products. According to Frost & Sullivan's data, according to the statistics on the number of ADC candidate drugs in the clinical stage, Lepu Bio's ADC candidate drug pipeline is in a leading position in China.
Learn about Medicilon’s ADC drug research and development platform.
With the emergence of more innovative therapies, it is expected that the future of ADC will be safer, more effective, and more accurately targeted, which will bring more hope to more patients with refractory diseases.

[1] P A Trail, et al.  Cure of xenografted human carcinomas by BR96-doxorubicin immunoconjugates.  Science. 1993 Jul 9; 261(5118):212-5.

[2] Anna Shvartsur, et al. Trop2 and itsoverexpression in cancers: regulation and clinical/therapeutic implications. Genes Cancer. 2015Mar; 6(3-4):84-105.

[3] Dian Su, et al. Linker Design Impacts Antibody-Drug Conjugate Pharmacokinetics and Efficacy via Modulating the Stability and Payload Release Efficiency. Front Pharmacol. 2021 Jun 23; 12:687926.

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