Life Sciences Insight

With $415M on the line, Genmab taps Synaffix for antibody-drug conjugate technologies

It’s a story of new year, new antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology at Genmab. Having previously partnered with ADC Therapeutics and Seagen, Genmab has now identified Synaffix as a good fit for its antibody expertise—and has committed up to $415 million in milestones to gain broad access to the technologies. 

Genmab is paying $4.5 million upfront and putting up almost 100 times as much in milestones for the exclusive chance to use a clutch of Synaffix technologies against one drug target, as well as for options to apply the tools to other targets. The technologies cover antibody conjugation, linker payloads and a polar spacer. GlycoConnect, the conjugation technology, is the centerpiece of Synaffix’s ADC offering.

By replacing the existing antibody glycan with a therapeutic payload, Synaffix thinks GlycoConnect can improve on other approaches to ADCs by enabling the use of the native monoclonal antibody and by creating a highly stable product.  

Genmab has also gained access to HydraSpace, which is designed to improve the manufacturability, stability and therapeutic index of ADCs, and select toxSYN Linker-Payloads. Synaffix provides a handful of linker payloads, with several different modes of action, under the toxSYN brand but is yet to reveal which molecules are covered by the Genmab deal.

Securing access to the technologies furthers Genmab’s long-standing interest in ADCs. Equipped with its in-house antibody expertise, Genmab has pursued ADCs in collaboration with partners for more than a decade, partnering with Seattle Genetics, now Seagen, in 2010 and teaming up with ADC Therapeutics in 2013. The Seagen alliance delivered an approved drug, Tivdak, last year.

Genmab is far from the first company to see Synaffix as the answer to ADC challenges. In the second half of 2021 alone, Synaffix disclosed deals with Kyowa Kirin and ProfoundBio as well as the expansion of its agreement with Mersana Therapeutics and the progression of a third ADC candidate based on its technology into clinical development. The partners joined ADC Therapeutics, Shanghai Miracogen and Innovent Biologics on Synaffix’s growing list of collaborators.

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