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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

State funding fuels nation’s first antibody-drug-conjugate (ADC) manufacturing site, amid global M&As

Health Industry Hub | May 13, 2024 |

Pharma News: A local pharmaceutical manufacturer has been awarded a grant by the Victorian government to establish Australia’s inaugural antibody-drug-conjugate (ADC) factory. The recent acquisitions by multinational pharmaceutical companies have reinvigorated interest in ADCs, emphasising their potential in cancer therapy.

In an ASX statement, IDT Australia detailed plans for a state-of-the-art commercial Contract Design and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO) facility, representing a $3.8 million investment in Boronia, Victoria, exclusively dedicated to ADC production. The company also revealed its strategic partnerships with ADC biotech firms, including a master services agreement with Japanese pharma Nagase.

“The new ADC facility is a strategically important asset for our nation and for our  Company,” said IDT Australia CEO, Paul McDonald. “It will put Victoria at the heart of Australia’s sovereign capability to manufacture the latest cutting-edge drugs, while providing a significant growth catalyst for our [fledgling Advanced Therapies] business.”

The recent acquisition of ImmunoGen by AbbVie for $10.1 billion, coupled with Pfizer’s earlier acquisition of Seagen for $43 billion, has reignited interest in ADCs. AbbVie’s acquisition notably includes the FDA-approved Elahere, indicated for ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and primary peritoneal cancer.

The partnership of Daiichi Sankyo-AstraZeneca on Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan) has underscored the significance of this therapeutic modality.

Merck has forged licensing agreements with Daiichi Sankyo and China’s Kelun Biotech, while GSK has entered into collaborations with Mersana Therapeutics and Hansoh Pharma. Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) recently made headlines by acquiring an early-stage ADC from SystImmune for $800 million, following previous ADC agreements with Eisai, Tubulius, and Orum Therapeutics.

Eli Lilly expanded its portfolio through the acquisition of Emergence Therapeutics and Mablink Bioscience. In late December, Johnson & Johnson entered the arena, securing a TROP2-directed ADC from South Korea’s LegoChem Biosciences for $1.8 billion, and subsequently announcing the acquisition of ADC specialist Ambrx Biopharma for $2 billion.

Roche joined the ADC trend with a $1 billion deal with China’s MediLink Therapeutics for a c-MET ADC in late 2023. Even without a commercial oncology product, BioNTech has ventured into ADC territory with agreements with China’s Duality Biologics and MediLink. BeiGene also entered the ADC space last year through a deal with Duality.

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