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Debiopharm and SunRock Biopharma have signed an exclusive option and licence agreement to advance the development of specifically targeted antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) for hard-to-treat cancers.

Under the agreement, Debiopharm will further develop SunRock’s antibodies by incorporating its linker technologies, Multilink and AbYlink, for creating the new ADCs.

New ADCs are being developed to target tumour-specific antigens for fighting cancers with significant unmet needs, including the types of tumours that express HER2/HER3.

SunRock Biopharma CEO Laureano Simón said: “We are really enthusiastic about the powerful synergy of SunRock antibodies and bispecific antibodies with Debiopharm’s ADC platform and clinical development capabilities.”

Multilink, a new cleavable linker platform intended for multidrug attachment, is compatible with any conjugation technology to create ADCs with a high drug-to-antibody ratio (DAR).

This technology enables multiple payloads loading on an antibody for improved therapeutic effect.

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Pharmaceutical or other speciality biotech companies can use this platform for generating clinical-stage ADCs.

AbYlink is a rapid antibody conjugation technology for diagnostic uses and ADC preparation. It is a site-selective method that provides defined and invariable conjugation sites without any impact on antigen-binding regions.

Using this technology, researchers can design ADCs with improved safety, efficacy and specificity to meet the unmet medical requirements of patients through ADC innovation.

Debiopharm CEO Bertrand Ducrey said: “Our partnership with SunRock could result in the creation of highly innovative antibody-drug conjugates with the potential to tackle cancer in a new way and ultimately improve the lives of cancer patients.”