On August 29, 2019 ADCendo, a spin-out from the University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet, reported having been accepted into the BioInnovation Institute (BII) Creation House program (Press release, ADCendo, AUG 29, 2019, View Source [SID1234573153]). As part of the program, ADCendo has secured a convertible loan of 10 million DKK for furthering its novel antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) being developed for treatment of cancers.
In 2017, following publication of scientific proof-of-concept, ADCendo was established as a spin-out from the Finsen Laboratory of Rigshospitalet and the University of Copenhagen, with the purpose of developing a new type of targeted anti-cancer drug, in the form of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) directed at a novel target receptor, uPARAP. An approach that potentially enables targeted therapy in several cancer forms where expression of the target has been found to be highly upregulated, including soft-tissue sarcoma, osteosarcoma, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and triple-negative breast cancer. Furthermore, recent research suggests that targeting uPARAP-positive stromal cells (healthy cells surrounding a solid tumor) with this approach, may potentially offer opportunities for treating several much more commonly occurring carcinomas, including breast, colon, pancreatic, prostate, ovarian and renal cancers.
CSO of ADCendo and group leader at The Finsen Laboratory, Niels Behrendt, explains: "Based on our early results obtained at the Finsen laboratory, we were granted a pre-seed grant from Novo Holdings enabling us to make significant improvements to the overall performance of our early ADC candidates. Our results have been very well received by our international ADC network, and with the expanded access to BII, as well as the additional financial support, we are looking forward to furthering the development of our clinical candidate. Having created the scientific basis of the company through many years of basic cancer research, we are of course very excited about this opportunity to take our results further towards clinical utilization, and we are very proud of having been selected for the Creation House program at BII".
Commenting on the ADCendo spin-out, Bo Porse, head of the Finsen Laboratory, notes: "At the Finsen Laboratory, we have a strong focus on the translational aspects, in addition to our basic research. The successful path of ADCendo from basic cancer research by its founders at the Finsen Laboratory, to a spin-out biotech, nicely illustrates how our research strategy may contribute to development of novel, innovative anti-cancer treatments".
ADCendo is, in parallel with furthering its ADCs, preparing pre-clinical and clinical development plans for metastatic soft tissue sarcoma (STS), a serious disease where patients have a median survival of only 12-18 months. Importantly, ADCendo aims to fill the gap following the drug Lartruvo (Olaratumab, an anti-PDGFR-α antibody), which was withdrawn from the STS market in early 2019 following a failed confirmatory phase III study. At launch, Lartruvo was the first new drug to be approved for first-line treatment of STS in 40 years, and the drug was well received and hoped to provide treatment for STS patients with substantial unmet needs. Going forward, ADCendo aims at developing its ADC strategy for STS, based on a development track similar to Lartruvo, which was granted orphan designation, fast track, breakthrough therapy designation, priority review status, and accelerated approval for STS, enabling a faster and more cost-effective clinical development path.
Henrik Stage, CEO of ADCendo explains: "In short, ADCendo’s business strategy is aimed at moving its lead compound into the clinic for STS patients, preferably based on an orphan drug designation, and hopefully receiving conditional approval for the drug to fill the gap after Lartruvo. Having been accepted for the BII program and receiving the convertible loan funding is an important step towards maturing the company, and preparing for the additional investments needed from investors and partners, to enable us to fulfil our ambitions of bringing our novel ADC drug to the market for treatment of patients with an unmet medical need".
Commenting on ADCendo’s acceptance for the BII program, Hervør Lykke Olsen, Senior Scientific Business Developer at BioInnovation Institute, says: "The goal for ADCendo is to develop a new drug for soft tissue sarcoma (STS), which is a heterogenous groups of tumors notorious for their recurrence, overall complexity, and difficulty to treat. Research from the ADCendo team has shown that the novel target, uPARAP, is highly overexpressed on the surface of cancer cells of STS tumors, making it very well suited for targeting with ADCendo’s ADCs. BII’s support on funding and business development can boost ADCendo to succeed in commercialization of the treatment to benefit patients".