EMD Serono and Sutro Biopharma announced a collaboration and license agreement to develop antibody drug conjugates (ADCs). ADCs are composed of an antibody linked to a cytotoxic drug. The antibody is thought to specifically target and deliver the cytotoxic drug to the cancer cells.
The collaboration will allow EMD Serono to take advantage of Sutro’s technology platforms in its oncology programs to develop ADCs for multiple undisclosed targets. Both companies believe that ADCs have the potential for directly targeting cancer cells while safeguarding healthy tissue, and will combine EMD Serono’s knowledge about target biology with Sutro’s technological and discovery capabilities to jointly develop ADCs. By following a strategic approach of creating partnerships, EMD Serono and Sutro aim to develop drug candidates that may ultimately address the unmet needs of patients.
“We continue to explore opportunities that will allow us to better understand the potential ADCs have in directly targeting cancer cells,” said Andree Blaukat, Senior Vice President and Head of Translational Innovation Platform Oncology at the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “This collaboration with Sutro is reflective of our ongoing commitment to advancing innovation that may provide new therapies for patients.”
“This partnership will help us to advance our position as a leading drug discovery partner to renowned pharmaceutical companies like EMD Serono,” said William J. Newell, chief executive officer of Sutro. “Together with EMD Serono, we will further advance our efforts to develop antibody therapeutics, engineered to deliver a cytotoxic agent to cancer cells. Our technology has been developed to allow loading of an antibody with multiple different agents, and to enable a potential higher uptake of the drug in the tumor cell through an improved stability of the ADC.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Sutro and EMD Serono will collaborate to discover and develop multiple ADCs utilizing Sutro’s cell-free protein synthesis platforms, Xpress CF ™ and Xpress CF+ ™. Sutro will be responsible for delivering ADCs for Phase I clinical trials. EMD Serono will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization of any resulting products.
EMD Serono will make an upfront payment to Sutro and will fund certain R&D activities. Sutro is also eligible to receive payments on completion of certain research, development and regulatory milestones potentially totaling approximately $298 million as well as royalties on product sales. Further financial details are not being disclosed.