Iksuda Therapeutics enters license agreement to develop new generation of antibody drug conjugates

Iksuda Therapeutics (Iksuda), the developer of enhanced, new-generation of Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs), has executed its option to secure exclusive, worldwide rights to develop a novel class of tumour-activated prodrug payloads from the University of Goettingen, following a successful collaboration exemplifying the series in ADC formats.

The highly potent and selective payload series represents a powerful new class within ADC development with novel protein alkylating cytotoxicity. Iksuda will drive onward development and commercialisation, incorporating the tuneable payload series in its ADC pipeline and payload armoury, to create best in class ADC therapeutics for nominated targets associated with haematological and solid tumours with high unmet need.

The partnership with the University of Goettingen was founded on Iksuda’s commitment to expand its payload armoury and optimise ADC design according to target antigen. The programme confirmed the value of tumour-selective activation of these powerful cytotoxic agents, conjugated with Iksuda’s stable conjugation technology (PermaLink®), in widening the therapeutic index of ADCs.

The novel protein-alkylating mode-of-action of the payload series differs from the field’s primary focus of intra- or DNA inter-strand cross-linking, conferring benefits against drug resistance mechanisms. Through the combination of PermaLink technology and the protein alkylating prodrugs, the Company aims to enable the differentiated development of more powerful ADCs with improved tumour killing, aligned with improved safety index and an ability to overcome potential tumour resistance.

Iksuda has demonstrated the potential value of prodrug approaches for targeted cancer therapeutics through its recent license of a CD19-targeting ADC from LegoChem Biosciences (LCB) for hard-to-treat B-cell cancers, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and Burkitt lymphoma. The ADC contains LCB’s prodrug DNA-cross-linking payload, with preclinical data confirming an impressive increase in therapeutic index over comparators. Under a broader agreement, the Company has gained access to LCB’s prodrug payload platform for use in nominated Iksuda targets.

Dr Dave Simpson, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Iksuda Therapeutics, said: “Iksuda’s successful partnership with the University of Goettingen, led by Professor Lutz Tietze, and subsequent licensing agreement demonstrates our continued work in building and refining approaches to ADC development.

“We are successfully responding to the industry-wide challenge of being able to treat all patients with cancer. Iksuda remains focussed on building a pipeline of next-generation ADCs with improved therapeutic index through our internal and external pipeline, harnessing our deep understanding in the field and accepting the challenge of targeting areas of high unmet clinical need.”

Dr Jens-Peter Horst, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, MBM ScienceBridge, the technology transfer organisation of the University of Goettingen, said: “This agreement is exemplary for the successful transfer of many years of academic research and development work into a very promising and innovative cancer therapy.”

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