ADC Bio receives £600,000 in second-round funding

To move forward anti-cancer drug technology and fund commissioning of new Technical Service lab

North Wales firm ADC Biotechnology (ADC Bio) has received a £600,000 second-round investment and grant package to fund growth.

The package includes £400,000 from Finance Wales and £200,000 from a consortium of previous and new private investors led by Acceleris. Finance Wales and Acceleris led the funding when ADC Bio became operational in December 2011.

The latest investment will also fund commissioning of the company’s new Technical Service Laboratory, which is coming on stream to meet demand for consultancy and R&D services.

ADC Biotechnology says its ‘Lock and Release’ drug purification process technology speeds up, simplifies and lowers the cost and environmental footprint of developing and manufacturing the latest generation of anti-cancer drugs.

The Lock and Release process technology uses fewer steps than conventional, solution-based processing

In this process, which uses fewer steps than conventional, solution-based processing, the antibody is locked onto the solid polymer bead support. The drug – typically a potent cytotoxin – reacts with the antibody to form the ADC, which is released from the support, using a chemical ‘key’ to yield clean drug substance.

The company says access to the technology will enable major ADC-based drug developers to benefit from its advantages for both complex drug development and scaled-up manufacturing services.

In September 2012, ADC Bio announced its first collaboration with Swiss-based pharmaceutical process development and API manufacturer Carbogen Amcis, an established global player in high-potency and anti-cancer drug production.

According to ADC Bio CEO Charlie Johnson the business is ‘very significantly ahead’ of its revenue forecast.

Growth is reflecting an accelerating ADC Market

‘Growth is reflecting both an accelerating ADC market, and recognition by drug innovators of our consultancy and R&D capabilities for both development and scale-up phases. This is enabling us to partner with customers at an early stage in their product development,’ he said.

ADCs are a new class of anti-cancer therapies. Acting as carriers for chemotherapy drugs, they enter targeted cancer cells prior to ADC degradation to release the drug payload with minimised impact on adjacent, healthy cells.

Adcetris, the first ‘second generation’ ADC-based drug, received commercial launch approval in Summer 2011. More than 30 are in clinical trials, with another 100 in pre-clinical testing.

The ADC clinical pipeline currently includes treatments for breast, ovarian, gastric and lung cancers and melanoma. The combined annual sales and production markets for ADC drugs are projected to top US$8bn (£5bn) by 2015/16.

ADC Biotechnology was formed in September 2010 as a spin-out from Reaxa. After a successful proof-of-concept programme at Sheffield University, the company secured its initial £450,000 package of investment and grant funding in December 2011, led by Finance Wales and Acceleris.

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