Emergence Therapeutics obtains the rights to develop a novel antibody-drug conjugate using Mablink Bioscience’s proprietary PSARlink™ drug-linker technology
Lyon, France & Duisburg, Germany, October 21, 2021
Mablink Bioscience S.A.S. a biotechnology company developing a pipeline of ADC based on its proprietary PSARlink™ drug-linker technology and Emergence Therapeutics AG, a European biopharmaceutical company developing novel antibody drug conjugate (ADC) immuno-therapeutics to treat cancers with high unmet needs today announced that they entered into a Licensing Agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Emergence Therapeutics will use a PSARlink™ drug-linker developed by Mablink to develop an ADC targeting Nectin-4, a protein overexpressed in several severe cancers.
Jack Elands, CEO of Emergence Therapeutics said: “Mablink Bioscience’s technology, PSARlink™, which is based on a hydrophilic linker using a polysarcosine arm, enabled us to design a Nectin-4 ADC loaded with the cytotoxic agent of our choice, whilst retaining the antibody’s pharmacological properties. This technology has the potential to widen the therapeutic index of an ADC and to make our Nectin-4 ADC a best-in-class. The preclinical data we obtained so far are very encouraging in this regard.” Jean-Guillaume Lafay, CEO of Mablink Bioscience added: “We have developed a unique technology that we believe solves the core issue that impaired so many ADC developments. Grafting cytotoxic molecules to an Antibody usually creates a rather hydrophobic ADC, which is correlated with poor pharmacological properties (low drug-exposure and general toxicity issues). While Mablink Bioscience develops its own drug candidates targeting several difficult-to-treat cancers, we are delighted to be joined by Emergence Therapeutics in our effort to develop the 3rd generation of ADCs and to bring new, more efficient, therapeutic options to cancer patients.”
Pursuant to the agreement, Mablink Bioscience is entitled to receive milestone and royalty payments, based on the development of the Nectin-4 ADC.
PSARlink™ drug-linkers are a chemical physical link that can be placed between an antibody and a chosen cytotoxic molecule to be delivered into tumor cells. PSARlink™’s unique structure “masks” the cytotoxic molecules, especially hydrophobic compounds, and provides a “stealthy” property to such antibody drug conjugates, enabling them to stay longer in the body, giving them more time to destroy tumor cells. At the same time, making ADC stealth avoids most of the damage typically caused by such molecules to healthy cells: PSARlink™-based ADC are better tolerated. These improvements translate into a 10-fold increase of the therapeutic index observed in animal models, a potentially game changing factor for future clinical success.
About Mablink Bioscience
Mablink Bioscience is a biopharmaceutical company which has developed PSARlink™, an innovative and hydrophilic drug-linker technology that brings dramatically improved pharmacological properties to antibody-drug conjugates.
Mablink Bioscience develops its own pipeline of ADC targeting several cancers with high unmet medical needs.
About Emergence Therapeutics
Emergence Therapeutics is a European biopharmaceutical company developing novel antibody drug conjugate (ADC) immuno-therapeutics to treat high-need cancers. Its lead program uses innovative linker technology and payload technology to target Nectin-4 – an important and validated target for a broad range of cancers. Furthermore, Emergence is actively exploring opportunities to develop further best- or first-in-class ADCs driven by therapeutic need.
Emergence has entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement with SATT Sud-Est (the regional tech transfer office for Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS and Inserm) through which the Company has been granted exclusive rights to a set of anti-Nectin-4 antibodies developed by Dr. Marc Lopez at the Cancer Research Center of Marseille, France. SATT Sud-Est is also providing financial support to the Emergence program.
Emergence has also entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement with Heidelberg Pharma Research GmbH, a subsidiary of Heidelberg Pharma AG (FWB: HPHA). Through this agreement Emergence has access to Heidelberg Pharma’s amanitin-based payloads (proprietary ATAC Technology). Heidelberg Pharma Research is also a founding investor in Emergence.
Nectin-4 has been clinically validated as an ADC target by enfortumab vedotin, now approved for the treatment of urothelial cancers by the US Food and Drug Administration. Nectin-4 is highly expressed by many different cancers and has a limited expression in healthy tissues, especially compared to many other ADC targets. Emergence is developing a new Nectin-4 ADC with the potential to be a best-in-class ADC.
Emergence is led by a strong management team and is supported by a network of world-leading scientists who have contributed significantly to the field of immuno-oncology. The Company is backed by a strong syndicate of European investors including Bpifrance, Gründerfonds Ruhr, High-Tech Gründerfonds, idinvest Partners, Kurma Partners and NRW.Bank. Emergence is based in Duisburg, Germany with a subsidiary in Marseille, France. For more information, please visit: www.emergencetx.com.