UK groups Glythera and IONTAS are working together on the development of antibody drug conjugates for difficult-to-treat cancers.

The companies have signed a deal under which IONTAS will generate novel, fully human antibodies against specified targets for proof-of-concept studies.

Glythera will then use these antibodies, in combination with its novel toxin portfolio, to develop next generation ADCs “with improved efficacy and safety, to target difficult-to-treat tumours”.

Under the terms of the collaboration, IONTAS will receive undisclosed development and clinical milestone payments on each of the ADCs, and Glythera is responsible for the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any ADC products.

ADC technology basically links a monoclonal antibody with a ‘payload’ of deadly medicine for release inside the targeted cell, the idea being that such targeted delivery will boost effectiveness of treatment while preventing healthy tissues from being harmed.

According to Glythera, ADCs generated via its PermaLink platform have the potential to improve clinical utility through their significantly enhanced conjugation stability, which results in an improved therapeutic index and overall tumour response.

Earlier this year, the firm bagged a £1 million grant from Innovate UK to develop next-generation antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) for difficult-to-treat tumours.