Despite the recent progress of immunotherapy and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), today’s oncology therapeutics are inadequate for many patients. Many of the most successful drugs of the last two decades pursue a small set of proven targets. We believe the next wave of transformative therapies will follow from pursuing underexplored targets with appropriate drug modalities.
The success of ADCs demonstrates the power of targeted delivery. By using antibodies to direct drugs to tumors, ADCs have demonstrated both efficacy and reduced toxicity. Given the synergies generated by our recently completed merger with Morphimmune, we expect to add first-in-class and best-in-class ADCs to our portfolio.
But the biology of some targets necessitates approaches beyond ADCs as well. We believe that our Targeted Effector platform is broadly similar to an ADC: it uses small molecule ligands with antibody-like specificity to deliver payloads to disease-implicated cells. The ligand and payload are joined by a linker that determines key properties of the molecule, including pharmacokinetics and non-specific uptake. This technology allows us to design radioligand therapies that we believe have best-in-class potential.
Our work is also supported by the Immunome Discovery Engine, which identifies potentially novel targets and antibodies. Patient immune systems recognize disease-related antigens, leading to the formation of memory B cells. Our platform isolates B cells from patient samples, expands them, and then uses proprietary hybridoma technology to immortalize them. The highly optimized system can screen up to 20,000 antibodies at a time, incorporating both functional and sequence-based elements. The selected antibodies and targets are then evaluated for therapeutic potential, whether as ADCs or as naked antibodies.