Antikor Biopharma has entered into a strategic alliance with Essex Bio-Technology’s wholly-owned subsidiary Essex Bio-Investment in Fragment-Drug Conjugates (FDC) for cancer treatment.

Under the terms of the $3.1m investment agreement, Antikor will consolidate and expand its position as an innovator in smaller-format conjugate therapies for solid tumours.

Antikor Biopharma CEO Mahendra Deonarain said: “We believe we have a platform that is tailored to make an impact in an area of major unmet medical need. With EssexBio’s considerable commercial and clinical expertise, we now have the opportunity for translating the promised advantages of Antikor’s proprietary products into clinical benefit.”

EssexBio will leverage Antikor’s novel technology platform to enrich its research pipeline. The platform also aligns with EssexBio’s long-term research and commercial strategy.

Antibody FDCs, also called immuno-conjugates, combine the pharmacological potency of highly cytotoxic drugs with the high specificity of an antibody against tumour-associated targets.

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Comprising smaller antibody fragments, they are relatively easy to discover and can be bioengineered for multiple drug-molecule conjugations.

Furthermore, FDCs demonstrate better tumour penetration and rapid elimination from normal tissues.

Essex Bio-Investment president Malcolm Ngiam said: “We are excited to have established a strong alliance with Antikor.

“Fragment-Drug Conjugate is an innovative approach with the potential to overcome many of the challenges faced by current treatment methods. The research and commercial partnership with Antikor is an important step towards developing a first-in-class treatment for cancer.”