Glythera Limited, the next generation antibody drug conjugate (ADC) development company, announces the launch of a £1 million Innovate UK grant-funded project to develop next-generation ADCs for difficult-to-treat tumours using Glythera’s proprietary non-maleimide conjugation platform, PermaLink, in combination with its portfolio of novel toxins and antibodies.

ADCs are an emerging class of targeted therapeutics in the fight against cancer.

By combining the targeting power of antibodies with the cell killing capability of highly potent toxins, ADCs have the potential to kill tumour cells whilst limiting damage to healthy tissues, and to improve patient outcomes compared with traditional chemotherapy.

Glythera’s PermaLink-based ADCs have the potential to improve clinical utility through their significantly enhanced conjugation stability, which results in an improved therapeutic index and overall tumour response.

This project aims to develop a portfolio of PermaLink-based ADCs by combining novel high-potency toxins with a series of ADC-viable, tumour-specific antibodies, selected according to predefined criteria and specifically focused towards antigens that are overexpressed in difficult-to-treat cancers.

Data generated from in vitro and in vivo studies of these conjugates will be used to prioritise the most promising candidates for preclinical development programmes. Glythera intends to identify its first clinical candidate for first-in-human studies in 2019.

Glythera has partnered with Covance, the world renowned global contract research division of LabCorp Inc., for the Innovate UK-funded project. Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has invested £1,080,235 of Biomedical Catalyst funding in the project.

Dr Dave Simpson, CEO of Glythera, said: “Glythera is poised to bring a new generation of oncology focused therapies to the clinic. The funding by Innovate UK will help us identify novel antibody-drug conjugates for the potential treatment of a variety of cancers that are associated with high relapse rates to current treatment.”

“These will then be prioritised 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.”