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!
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.