Antikor is a growth stage biotech business that was originally spun out from Imperial College by Dr Deonarian, an antibody technology expert and Dr Yahioglu, a synthetic chemistry expert. Antikor has used its proprietary platform technology to create a significantly improved version of an existing cancer therapy approach. Co-funded by Innovate UK, Antikor is developing a lead product for gastric cancer. The business has been built on experience, know-how and intellectual property in attaching many different types of chemotherapy drugs to tumour delivery vehicles known as antibody fragments.
One of the most active areas of cancer research and development is the development of Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) in which a powerful toxin ‘payload’ is attached to whole monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) in order to specifically target them to tumours. ADCs are currently clinically and commercially validated with over four approved products available. The ADC market is a highly dynamic one with annual market growth to exceed 40%. This itself is attracting high value licensing deals and pre-clinical single asset sales of over £100 million.
However, while the market for ADCs is attractive, ADCs fail to live up to their purpose of eliminating solid tumours. This is due to ADCs having a low potency, slow tumour penetration and higher toxicity as the ADCs do not clear from the body quickly.
Antikor have used their patented OptiLinkTM technology to create Antibody Fragment Drug Conjugates (FDCs). The simple FDC has a number of advantages which overcome the problems caused by ADCs as the team have managed to create the FDC to be significantly smaller yet have a higher drug-payload ratio, offering a more potent package. Due to the smaller size but higher potency, the FDC is able to rapidly penetrate the tumour but also clear from the body faster than an ADC and reduce toxic exposure to normal organs. Furthermore, the FDC can have broad applicability to all other diseases as well as working effectively with other cancer therapies such as immuno-oncology.