Hail the antibody, cure with ease
London/Lausanne – The global private equity firm Celtic Therapeutic L.L.L.P. believes in the power of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). It is investing $50m in a new Switzerland-based company called ADC Therapeutics Sarl which takes off with ten proprietary ADC oncology programmes in the pipeline. Among them are ADCs against prostate, lung, renal, breast and blood cancers. Bringing the cytotoxic therapeutics to the desired cancer cells with the help of antibodies has some advantages: ADCs are thought to be target-selective and highly potent. They have fewer side effects and could minimize drug resistance. "We believe that ADCs will represent a significant medical breakthrough in cancer therapy over the coming decade", says Celtic co-founder Stephen Evans-Freke. ADC Therapeutics can rely on the know-how of London's very own Spirogen, an ADC company controlled by Celtic. Spirogen's PBD (proprietary pyrrolobenzodiazepines) 'payload' technology constitutes, if anything, the 'best-in-class' ADC cytotoxic weapon ("warhead"). Scientific wisdom is also provided by British Cancer Research Technology Ltd as a shareholder and US-specialists Samuel Broder and Barrie Ward as non-executive directors. Celtic Therapeutics was founded in 2007 by Evans-Freke and Peter B. Corr, who retired from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in 2006. Evans-Freke outlines the new company's strategy as follows: "The anticipated investment of up to $50 million into ADC Therapeutics will lead to clinical proof of concept in 2-3 lead oncology programmes. We are committed to fully fund ADC Therapeutics and will raise additional capital if warranted." After having resilient Phase II data promising ADCs could be then contracted to pharma giants.