WuXi adding ADC tech to services in Ambrx acquisition

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

WuXi adds another 'link' in its chain of service, with Ambrx's linker tech
WuXi adds another 'link' in its chain of service, with Ambrx's linker tech

Related tags Amino acid Protein

A consortium including WuXi PharmaTech has agreed to acquire biotech client Ambrx for its antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) conjugation technology.

The consortium - involving CDMO Wuxi, Chinese healthcare company Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, and financial firms Hopu Investment and CEL – signed the merger agreement yesterday and expects to close the acquisitiojn of the San Diego-based biotech within the next few weeks.

According to WuXi spokesman Aaron Shi, “the transaction allows WuXi to broadly access cutting-edge ADC platform and biologics development capabilities to better serve our global customers.”

WuXi said it expects ADCs to be a large growth driver over the next decade, but Shi was unable to divulge further information about the integration of Ambrx’s tech and facilities to Biopharma-Reporter.com at this stage.

ADC pedigree

WuXi has some experience with ADCs and indeed Ambrx’s own pipeline, having been contracted by the firm and its partner Zheijang Medicine in June 2013​ to manufacture clinical amounts of the Her2-positive breast cancer ARX788.

Ambrx's approach to ADCs is based on the ability to insert non-native amino acids at precise points in the antibodies. These non-native amino acides differ chemically from the 20 naturally occuring amino acids involved in protein biosynthesis, which means they can be accurately targeted using Ambrex's linker technology.

According to Ambrx this ability to link in this manner and attach drug warheads at specific sites overcomes the limitations of older ADC technologies, where attachement is more haphazard.

The firm also claims the approach allows it to use higher drug dosages without impacting the safety profile of the ADC.

Furthermore, the consortium will take on ongoing collaborations between Ambrx and a number of biopharma partners, including a partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb developing long-acting fibroblast growth factor 21 for type 2 diabetes.

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