A UK-based SME is developing a novel antibody drug conjugate technology for treating cancer. Their technology targets two cancer cell markers rather than one, preventing non-specific targeting of healthy cells. During development this dual target approach showed potent synergy compared with targeting individual markers. The SME would like to investigate the mechanisms of this with universities and research institutions under research cooperation agreements or technical cooperation agreements.
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are a promising method of treating cancer where antibodies that target markers on cancer cells are linked to chemotherapy drugs. This enables the drug to be delivered to the cancer cell directly. However as many of these individual markers are also expressed on healthy cells to lower degrees this has lead to non-specific targeting of healthy cells, resulting in severe adverse effects for the patient.
A UK-based SME is developing an ADC technology that aims to overcome this by using antibodies in their ADCs that target two markers. As both markers are only expressed on cancer cells this means that the ADC will only deliver its drug payload to cancer cells so avoiding the problems of non-specific targeting of healthy cells.
During the course of proof of principle testing of this approach the SME found that use of the ADCs targeting two targets resulted in potent synergy with a 20 fold increase in potency seen compared to antibodies against either individual target. The mechanism behind this synergy is unknown.
The SME would like to partner with a university, research institution or a company with expertise and interest in ADC technology and the molecular mechanisms is order to examine this synergistic effect and understand the mechanism behind it. It is expected that the partnership will take the form of a research cooperation or a technical cooperation.
- Type of partner sought: The SME is looking for expertise in cell surface receptor imaging, understanding mechanisms and interactions at the cell surface between antigens or antigen:antibody engagement and internalisation.
Expertise in cell biology particularly understanding the mechanics and mode of action of cell surface antigens and in particular synergy of potential interactions at the cell surface.
- Specific area of activity of the partner: The SME is looking to partner with universities and research institutions in particular but will also consider companies if they have the expertise sought. The SME will provide access to materials and data in order to explore the synergistic effect observed and the mechanisms behind it.
The SME will consider a joint grant application for a research project with a partner to undertake this or alternatively could provide the data and materials to incorporate into a partner's existing research project if appropriate. It is expected that the partnership will take the form of a research cooperation agreement or a technical cooperation agreement.