The History of ADC Drugs Development

The History of ADC Drugs Development

Published by BroadPharm on September 10, 2020

Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs) are composed of a drug (payload) linked to an mAbs (antibody) that is designed to specifically release their payload at a tumor.

In the last 100 years treatment to remove the cancer has taken many forms, such as chemotherapy, radiation, bone marrow transplant, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, cryoablation, and radiofrequency ablation, outlined in Figure 1.

diagram of antibody drug conjugate linker as well as a description
Figure 1. Milestones in the treatment of Cancers.

The history of ADC drug development for cancer treatment can, in part, be tied back to Dr. Paul Ehrlich. Dr. Ehrlich, who made numerous contributions to science and medicine at the turn of the twentieth century, is credited with also naming the concept of chemotherapy. He popularized the concept of a "magic bullet", which is the idea of an ideal therapeutic agent that would be created that killed only the organism targeted.

The first ADC clinical trial in 1983 using an anti-carcinoembryonic antigen antibody-vindesine conjugate. In 2000 the first ADC, Pfizer's Mylotarg (gemtuzumab ozogamicin), was approved for CD33-positive acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients aged over 60. However, Mylotarg was withdrawn from the market in 2010 due to a lack of clinical benefit and high fatal toxicity rate compared to the standard chemotherapy. Then in 2017, the FDA once again approved Mylotarg for combination therapy with DNR and AraC for the treatment of patients aged 15?years and above with previously untreated, de novo CD33?positive AML, except APL.

Despite this setback, ADC technologies continued evolving, with 11 ADC approved by the FDA in 2021 and over 60 ADCs currently in clinical trials.

As a leading supplier of PEG linker and bioconjugation tools, BroadPharm offers a wide array of different ADC Linkers to empower our customer's advanced research. These compounds feature great aqueous solubility, smart choice of PEG length, and a broad selection of functional groups to choose from.

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