News Feature | February 25, 2014

NBE Therapeutics' SMAC-Technology Successfully Validated

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By Estel Grace Masangkay

NBE Therapeutics announced the successful validation of its SMAC™-Technology for the generation of antibody drug conjugates (ADCs). The company will present SMAC this week at the World ADC Summit in Frankfurt, Germany.

SMAC™-Technology (SMAC = sortase-mediated antibody conjugation) uses highly selective sortase enzymes for site-specific and effective pairing of toxic payloads to therapeutic antibodies. NBE’s enzymatic technology permits the potent generation of homogenous ADC drug substances. This represents an improvement to existing clinical-stage ADCs which are more heterogeneous in nature comprising molecules with undesired properties.

Antibody drug conjugates are a new class of powerful biopharmaceutical drugs which aims to function as a targeted therapy for the treatment of cancer in patients. ADCs are comprised of complex molecules composed of an antibody linked to a biologically active cytotoxic payload or drug. The combination of monoclonal antibodies together with cancer-killing functions of cytotoxic drugs allows sharper distinction between diseased and healthy tissue. Using ADCs ideally results in less damage to healthy tissue compared to traditional chemotherapy.

The Basel-based biotech company said proof-of-concept studies showed SMAC-generated ADCs exhibited the same potential in cancer cell eradication experiments as commercially available benchmark ADCs. These are often composed of identical antibody and toxin even in cases when significantly smaller toxic payload amounts were conjugated.

The company said SMAC possesses the potential to improve current models of cancer therapies. NBE-Therapeutics plans to leverage its validated ADC technology to develop preclinical and clinical pipeline of next generation ADC products which will target therapies for difficult to treat cancers such as lung, colon, pancreatic, breast, and ovarian cancer.

Only a few ADC treatments have been granted marketing authorization and approval. These include Pfizer’s Mylotarg (gemtuzumab ozogamicin), Seattle Genetics and Takeda’s Adcetris (Brentuximab vedotin), and Genentech and Roche’s Kadcyla (Trastuzumab emtansine). Mylotarg was withdrawn from the market in June 2010. NBE’s SMAC-Technology is currently awaiting patent approval.