AstraZeneca bets on cancer ADC

Feb. 23, 2023

AstraZeneca and China-based KYM Biosciences have inked a global exclusive license agreement for a potential first-in-class antibody drug conjugate (ADC) targeting Claudin 18.2 — a promising therapeutic target in gastric cancer. 

AstraZeneca will make an upfront payment of $63 million and additional development and sales-related milestone payments of up to $1.1 billion to KYM.

Per the agreement, AstraZeneca will take over the global research, development, manufacture and commercialization of CMG901, a novel ADC targeting Claudin 18.2. The drug consists of an anti-Claudin 18.2 monoclonal antibody, a protease-degradable linker, and a cytotoxic small molecule monomethyl auristatin E.

CMG901 is currently being evaluated in a phase I clinical trial for the treatment of Claudin 18.2-positive solid tumors, including gastric cancer. According to AstraZeneca, preliminary results from the trial have shown an encouraging clinical profile for CMG901, with early signs of anti-tumor activity across the dose levels tested.

Back in April 2022, AstraZeneca snapped up another candidate targeting Claudin18.2 when it signed a deal with Hong Kong-based Harbour BioMed to develop its CLDN18.2xCD3 bispecific antibody.