By Jan Vertommen, senior director of commercial development of small molecules; Iwan Bertholjotti, director of commercial development of bioconjugates; and Dr. Bernhard Stump, head of development of bioconjugates, Lonza Biotech
Bioconjugates are a unique class of hybrid pharmaceutical products that consist of three building blocks: a carrier molecule, a payload, and a chemical linker to connect the latter two. The therapeutic potential of this combination is causing growing interest across the industry, with considerable focus on the subset category of antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), which have demonstrated promising opportunities in the treatment of cancer.1 With a market value projected to grow from $14.72 billion in 2021 to $44.5 billion by 2026, ADCs are one of the fastest growing class of anti-cancer drugs in the industry.2
Yet, while the disease targeting specificity of these biological Trojan horses offers many benefits in fighting cancer, challenges with a low therapeutic index are threatening just how far they can make it in their clinical journey. This is often due to the advanced chemistry involved in developing the linker, as well as the toxic payloads that are critical to the product’s efficacy and safety profile. Improving your ADC’s chance of clinical success requires an understanding of what potential obstacles lie ahead and what capabilities and expertise are necessary to overcome them.