Emerging class of therapeutics represents a coming wave for developers and manufacturers

January 22, 2014

After years of research, development and testing, a new class of drugs is emerging on the market with two frontrunners acting as harbingers of what's to come. The cover story in Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine, explores the potential of these antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and the challenges in developing and manufacturing them.

Ann M. Thayer, senior correspondent at C&EN, explains that ADCs are essentially molecular missiles. They are made up of a toxic payload (a drug) attached to an antibody that specifically seeks out sick cells, such as tumor cells. They don't release their lethal cargo until they reach their target. The advantages of this approach are clear: It spares healthy cells and lowers drug side effects. It can also extend the life of a under an expiring patent or salvage an antibody that was ineffective by itself. ADCs hold a lot of promise. Of the two approved ADCs, one is soon expected to be a blockbuster. About 30 more are in clinical trials with another 100 or more ADCs in the preclinical pipeline. Projections show that by 2018, sales of ADCs could top $5 billion.

On the manufacturing side, because these drugs are so complex, suppliers are still figuring out how to streamline production. At the moment, ADCs are a niche area of manufacturing with only a few contract manufacturing organizations able to put all the pieces together from start to finish. But many are responding and investing millions to expand capacity for this promising new class.

Explore further: Nanomedicines promise fewer side effects in treating cancer

More information: "Building Antibody-Drug Conjugates" cen.acs.org/articles/92/i3/Building-Antibody-Drug-Conjugates.html

Related Stories

Nanomedicines promise fewer side effects in treating cancer

June 6, 2012

A new generation of cancer treatments based on nanotechnology is making its way out of the laboratory and into the clinic with the promise of targeting cancer cells while steering clear of healthy tissue, according to the ...

Shifting the Internet into high gear

March 27, 2013

(Phys.org) —A new-generation analog-to-digital converter (ADC) developed by a joint IBM-EPFL team has the potential to greatly increase the speed and volume of data that can be transferred over the Internet.

Recommended for you

A new form of real gold, almost as light as air

November 25, 2015

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a new type of foam made of real gold. It is the lightest form ever produced of the precious metal: a thousand times lighter than its conventional form and yet it is nearly impossible ...

Moonlighting molecules: Finding new uses for old enzymes

November 27, 2015

A collaboration between the University of Cambridge and MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, has led researchers to identify a potentially significant new application for a well-known ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.