Editors' (re)View: ADCs take center stage; pill of the future

May 12, 2023
Pharma Manufacturing editors Karen Langhauser and Andrea Corona comment on the notable happenings in the pharma industry from the week of May 8

Editor’s note: Welcome to Editors' (re)View, our editors’ takes on things going on in the pharma world that deserve some extra consideration.

ADCs are stealing the show

Another week, another big antibody-drug conjugate deal. Oncology is pharma's largest stage — and ADCs are the newest star. Simple in concept but extremely complex in practice, ADCs got off to a bit of a slow start. But the past five years have certainly brought validation to the technology, along with 9 FDA approvals. (Read all about it in our upcoming June cover story!)

We all recall that in March, Pfizer announced it would drop a cool $43 billion to acquire antibody-drug conjugate pioneer Seagen. 

Early this week, Eisai added to the deal-making frenzy when it inked  a potential $2 billion pact with China-based BlissBio to acquire its ADC candidate directed against HER2 for the treatment of cancers.

According to data from Pharmaprojects, there are 428 ADC drugs in the pipeline and HER2 is the most common target for these therapies.

BlissBio's candidate, currenty in phase 1/2 studies, is designed to provide a safer and more effective treatment regimen for patients with locally advanced/metastatic HER2 expressing solid tumors. While HER2 is an established therapeutic target in a large subset of women with breast cancer, HER2-targeting treatments have also shown benefit in patients with other solid tumors harboring HER2 overexpression, including patients with colorectal, non-small-cell lung and bladder cancers. BlissBio expects its treatment to have multiple market prospects for application in various tumor indications.

It's an exciting new era for ADCs and bioconjugates in general!

—Karen Langhauser

Pill of the future

As the demand for personalized medicines surges, scientists are finding ingenious ways to create noninvasive devices that can capture patient data.

Earlier this week, a group of researchers from the University of California Davis, Stanford University, and Envivo Bio shared that they developed a specialized capsule that enables them to explore the digestive system and obtain new insights into digestion and microorganisms.

The device is designed to be swallowed and collect a small quantity of biofluids and microorganisms while traversing from the upper intestine to the colon, until it is excreted in feces. Their work, published in Nature and Nature Metabolism, shows how the scientists successfully look at the variation in upper intestinal contents during normal daily digestion in 15 healthy people. The researchers were able to select the sampling site within the intestinal tract by applying a pH-sensitive coating on the capsule.

Using a  'multiomics' strategy to analyze the samples collected for bacteria, viruses, host proteins and food metabolites, the team was able to identify almost 2,000 metabolites. The study also revealed that two individuals who had taken antibiotics in the last six months had substantial variations in the levels of bioactive fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids (FAFHAs) and sulfonolipids, metabolites that are believed to prevent inflammation and diabetes. 

—Andrea Corona

About the Author

Andrea Corona | Senior Editor

Andrea Corona serves as the Senior Editor of Pharma Manufacturing — a leading source of news and insights for pharma professionals — and is responsible for creation of editorial content, moderating webinars, and co-hosting the "Off script" podcast. Her editorial journey started as an as associate editor at Biocompare, an online platform providing product information, industry news, articles, and other resources to support scientists in their work. Before Biocompare, she was a digital producer at Science Friday, focusing on adapting radio segments for the web and social media management. Andrea earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and biology from the State University of New York, at Purchase College. 
About the Author

Karen P. Langhauser | Chief Content Director, Pharma Manufacturing

Karen currently serves as Pharma Manufacturing's chief content director.

Now having dedicated her entire career to b2b journalism, Karen got her start writing for Food Manufacturing magazine. She made the decision to trade food for drugs in 2013, when she joined Putman Media as the digital content manager for Pharma Manufacturing, later taking the helm on the brand in 2016.

As an award-winning journalist with 20+ years experience writing in the manufacturing space, Karen passionately believes that b2b content does not have to suck. As the content director, her ongoing mission has been to keep Pharma Manufacturing's editorial look, tone and content fresh and accessible.

Karen graduated with honors from Bucknell University, where she majored in English and played Division 1 softball for the Bison. Happily living in NJ's famed Asbury Park, Karen is a retired Garden State Rollergirl, known to the roller derby community as the 'Predator-in-Chief.'