It's been 23 years since the FDA approved the first antibody-drug conjugate. While the cancer-destroying modality struggled initially with dosage and toxicity issues, conjugation technology, as well as drugmaker experience, has come a long way.
With many of the initial kinks smoothed, pharma’s stage has been lit up with ADC deal-making. According to data from Citeline's Biomedtracker, between January 2018 and March 2023, there were approximately 100 publicly disclosed licensing deals that included ADC assets.
Here are a few notable recent market happenings:
JUNE 2023Lonza buys Synaffix in $107M deal: Swiss CDMO Lonza announced that it would be acquiring Synaffix, a Netherlands-based ADC-focused biotech. Synaffix's clinical stage platform was awarded Best ADC Platform Technology at World ADC Awards ceremony in 2020.
MAY 2023AstraZeneca, LaNova Medicines sign $600M partnership: AstraZeneca has entered a license agreement with Shanghai-based LaNova Medicines. Per the deal, the drugmaker will receive global license to research, develop and commercialize LaNova’s GPRC5D-targeting antibody-drug conjugate, the second to emerge from the company’s proprietary ADC platform.Eisai, BlissBio ink $2B collaboration: Eisai and China-based Bliss Biopharmaceutical announced a clinical trial collaboration agreement — with the option to license — for BlissBio's ADC candidate directed against Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) for the treatment of cancers.
APRIL 2023BMS enters potential $1B deal with Tubulis: BMS will gain exclusive rights to access the German biotech's Tubutecan payloads in combination with Tubulis’ proprietary P5 conjugation platform for the development of a selected number of highly differentiated ADCs to treat solid tumors.
Pyramid Bio signs $1.2B licensing deal with GeneQuantum: Pyramid Biosciences has signed a deal with China-based GeneQuantum Healthcare to develop and commercialize a potential best-in-class ADC targeting TROP2, a cell surface glycoprotein that is highly expressed in a variety of tumors including breast, lung, pancreatic, ovarian and prostate.
Takeda to license Innate Pharma ADCs for celiac disease: Japan-based Takeda has inked a deal for exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize ADCs using a panel of selected Innate Pharma antibodies against an undisclosed target, with a primary focus in Celiac disease.
BioNTech inks potential $1.7B DualityBio deal: BioNTech has signed a deal with China-based biotech DualityBio to co-develop and commercialize two cancer ADCs, adding an additional drug class to BioNTech’s oncology portfolio.
Synaffix, MacroGenics expand next-gen partnership: Amsterdam-based biotech Synaffix has expanded its ADC partnership with U.S. biopharma MacroGenics, pushing the potential payments to $2.2 billion.
Pfizer buys Seagen for $43B:In the largest pharma deal of the year, Pfizer will acquire ADC technology pioneer Seagen for a total enterprise value of $43 billion.
AstraZeneca inks potential $1.1B licensing deal with KYM Biosciences: AstraZeneca and China-based KYM Biosciences have inked a global exclusive license agreement for a potential first-in-class ADC targeting Claudin 18.2 — a promising therapeutic target in gastric cancer.
Merck KGaA, Mersana sign potential $830M collab: A Merck KGaA subsidiary has signed a deal that will focus on discovering novel STING-agonist ADCs for up to two targets leveraging Mersana’s proprietary immunostimulatory platform.
Amgen signs $1.25B R&D collab with LegoChem Biosciences: South Korean-based LegoChem has entered a research collaboration and license agreement with Amgen to develop up to 5 investigational ADCs.
NOVEMBER 2022IGM, ADC Therapeutics enter clinical trial partnership: IGM Biosciences and ADC Therapeutics have entered into a clinical trial collaboration and supply agreement to evaluate the combination of imvotamab, IGM’s novel IgM CD20 x CD3 T-cell engaging bispecific antibody, and Zynlonta, ADC Therapeutics’ CD19-directed ADC, for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
APRIL 2021Sterling buys ADC Biotech: Global CDMO Sterling Pharma will buy ADC Bio, a UK based bioconjugation development services business specializing in ADCs for an undisclosed amount.
NOVEMBER 2020Merck buys VelosBio for $2.8B: The acquisition strengthens Merck’s oncology pipeline with VLS-101, an investigational ADC to treat hematological malignancies and solid tumors.
Gilead buys Immunomedics for $21B: The acquisition will give Gilead access to NJ-based Immunomedics’ Trodelvy, which was developed to treat an aggressive form of breast cancer.