ADC Bio: Biotech may 'hold the key' to innovation adoption

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

CDMOs need to respond to biotech innovation at an R&D level to improve efficiency in antibody-drug conjugate manufacturing, says ADC Bio.

Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) – composed of an antibody linked to an active cytotoxic payload – have traditionally been used for oncology indications, to target and kill cancer cells.

While UK-headquartered ADC Bio​ said indications are now expanding to include antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory targets, industry is still “some way off”​ establishing a fully optimised manufacturing process for the ADC supply chain.  

“As a product class, it’s still in its infancy and there are a number of process improvements that can be made to the production of cytotoxics, including the linkers that bind them to antibodies,” ​said ADC Bio CEO Charlie Johnson.

To speed up these processes, innovators need to focus on development at an R&D level, with contract development and manufacturing organisations (CDMOs) “seizing” industry’s initiative to drive innovation, he added.

“In particular, biotech customers may hold the key to increased adoption – as larger pharma companies might be too risk adverse – embracing innovation that delivers more efficient systems for producing their drug candidates in clinical development.”

One CDMO for supply chain efficiency?

Employing one CDMO to handle multiple processes – for example the bioconjugation of antibodies and cytotoxics and fill/finish – can reduce production time and cost to improve supply chain efficiency, said Johnson.

CDMO Lonza​ agreed that for a pharma or biotech company developing ADCs, there are “clear advantages” ​to outsourcing to a firm that offers a variety of manufacturing services.

“The ADC market is rapidly evolving and we’re seeing an increasing variety of molecules – for example novel payloads or using site-directed conjugation technologies,” ​commercial development head of bioconjugates at Lonza Pharma & Biotech, Laurent Ducry, told us.

“At our Visp site in Switzerland, customers have access to an end-to-end solution that incorporates API [active pharmaceutical ingredient] development and manufacturing – including HPAPI [highly potent API] – as well as conjugation,” ​he added.

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