Pyramid Bio bets $1.2B on oncology ADC

April 14, 2023

Pyramid Biosciences has signed a deal with China-based GeneQuantum Healthcare to develop and commercialize a potential best-in-class antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting TROP2, a cell surface glycoprotein that is highly expressed in a variety of tumors including breast, lung, pancreatic, ovarian and prostate.

The exclusive license agreement grants New Jersey-based Pyramid worldwide (ex-China) rights to GeneQuantum's GQ1010, which utilizes a unique site-specific conjugation technology and incorporates a novel linker-payload which may lead to improved stability, safety and potency of the ADC. 

"This highly differentiated program has the potential to address substantial limitations of current ADCs and unmet needs for patients with TROP2-expressing tumors, a clinically validated target in oncology," said Brian Lestini, CEO, Pyramid Biosciences.

GQ1010 is scheduled to enter a first-in-human trial within the next 12 months, and preclinical data has suggested the drug has a broader therapeutic margin compared to more advanced TROP2 ADCs, that may translate to an improved efficacy and safety profile.

If ultimately approved, the drug would rival Gilead's first-in-class Trop-2-directed antibody-drug conjugate, Trodelvy, that the drugmaker picked up in its $21 billion buyout of Immunomedics in 2020.

Under the terms of the deal, Pyramid will develop and commercialize GQ1010 in exchange for an upfront payment of $20 million and up to an additional $1 billion in milestone payments.

ADC deals in the oncology field have been exploding. BioNTech just inked a deal with China-based biotech DualityBio to co-develop and commercialize two cancer ADC candidates. A few weeks ago, Pfizer revealed a $43 billion deal to acquire the ADC technology pioneer, Seagen. The following day, Synaffix and MacroGenics announced that they had expanded their next-gen ADCs partnership. Last month, AstraZeneca signed a potential $1.1 billion deal with China-based KYM Biosciences for a potential first-in-class ADC targeting Claudin 18.2.