BioInnovation Institute welcomes ADCendo to the Creation House program. During the coming 18 months, the company will continue their work to develop a treatment for mainly soft-tissue sarcoma (STS), a cancer type occurring many places in the body, as well as other cancers, including glioblastomas which are found in the brain.
“In the western world alone, STS affect around 40.000 people every year and are primarily treated with surgery. However, if there are metastases there is currently no efficient treatment for the patients. An even higher number of patients suffer from the other cancer types such as glioblastomas. In ADCendo we are building on decades of basic research from Rigshospitalet to develop a targeted treatment based on antibody-drug conjugates against a specific cellular receptor on these cancers”, says Niels Behrendt, co-founder and CSO.
The company was founded in 2017 by CSO Niels Behrendt, CTO Christoffer Nielsen, COO Lars Henning Engelholm and CEO Henrik Stage. Later that same year, Andreas Hald joined the company as CRO. Together, the five of them have many years of experience in both science, entrepreneurship and in the corporate pharma industry.
First-generation ADC and proof of concept
As a post-doc at The Finsen Laboratory at Rigshospitalet, Christoffer Nielsen had developed a first-generation antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) against the target in the research groups of Niels Behrendt and Lars Engelholm. Here, the team set up the initial in vivo testing studies and obtained a proof of concept with a 100 percent cure rate of their cancer-bearing mice.
“This efficiency rate came as a surprise even to us and based on these encouraging results, we took the first steps to establish the company and to refine the drug candidate further”, says Niels Behrendt.
The project has received grants from both Novo Seeds and Innovation Fund Denmark prior to the convertible loan of DKK 10M from BioInnovation Institute. Before joining BII, the team worked from The Finsen Laboratory, which is part of BRIC and Rigshospitalet.
“ADCendo is covering an unmet need for STS. They are aiming their ADC at a unique target and can show significant efficiency in relevant animal models. That, in combination with the heavy commercial skills in the team, is what will make ADCendo succeed in commercializing the treatment to benefit patients.”, says Hervør Lykke Olsen, Senior Scientific Business Developer at BII.
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