Iksuda Therapeutics has announced the signing of a licence agreement with Femtogenix, a next-generation antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) payload company.

The company will use Femtogenix’s sequence-selective DNA-interactive payload molecules to progress its lead ADC towards the clinic.

ADCs are capable of delivering highly cytotoxic payloads directly to tumour cells, they are composed of a payload, linker and an antibody, the payload being either a small molecule, protein, protein toxin, enzyme or a radionuclide carrying the cytotoxic potency.

The agreement will give Iksuda access to Femtogenix’s therapeutic payloads to advance lead ADC for difficult-to-treat solid tumours, and aims to combine its own PermaLink conjugation platform with Femtogenix’s highly potent and broad-acting DNA mono-alkylating payloads.

Dr Chris Keightley, chief executive of Femtogenix, said: “We are pleased to be working with Iksuda to further validate the clinical potential of our payloads, which should provide improved efficacy and safety in comparison to those currently in the clinic. We have developed a wide range of easily conjugated payloads with novel mechanisms of action and potency levels, and these are available for licensing.

"In particular, we are developing payloads that can recognise and bind to transcription factor recognition site profiles within the genome. Such profiles are characteristic of specific tumour types, and this allows FGX to develop payloads with reduced toxicity and enhanced target specificity.”