The future of lymphoma treatment
In the current landscape of drug discovery, lymphoma poses a significant challenge and opportunity. Researchers are fervently exploring novel therapeutic avenues, such as Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs), to address the complexities of lymphoma. ARC-02, a standout candidate, demonstrates enhanced efficacy and tolerability in lymphoma treatment. While eyeing a diverse ADC pipeline, Araris currently focuses on oncological advancements. Philipp Spycher, the Co-Founder and CSO, leads this strategic vision, driving a shift in targeted cancer therapies.
How does Araris’ linker technology platform enable improved development of ADCs?
Our technology platform allows for a one-step, easy to use method to efficiently conjugate a molecule to any off-the-shelf antibody. We use hydrophilic linkers, which prevent ADC aggregation and generate highly stable ADCs, in combination with a unique attachment site on the antibody to create ADCs that retain pharmacokinetic properties similar to the original unconjugated antibody. This helps to maximize the targeted payload delivery to tumor cells. Our linker technology platform also allows us to identify the best possible linker-payloads to optimize the safety and efficacy of each ADC we develop.
Do Araris’ ADCs require antibody engineering?
No, our technology allows us to conjugate any drug payload to any off-the-shelf antibody without the need for further antibody engineering. This has several advantages, including increased speed of development, cost-effectiveness and leveraging already established and extensively researched antibodies.
Can you provide more details on ARC-02, Araris’ lead candidate, and what it is designed to treat?
ARC-02 is our anti-CD79b targeting ADC in development for the treatment of relapsed/refractory (r/r) follicular lymphoma (FL), for which there are currently no approved ADCs, as well as r/r diffuse B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The ADC uses the same antibody and drug payload as the approved Polivy®, however, it uses Araris’ linker technology. ARC-02 has demonstrated excellent stability with no payload loss detected in head-to-head preclinical studies with Polivy®. It’s shown a 3-4x higher efficacy vs the approved drug, and 8x higher tolerability in non-human primates. Our candidate has the potential to be a first-in-class ADC for FL and a best-in-class ADC for DLBCL.
In addition to r/r follicular lymphoma and DLBCL, what therapeutic areas will Araris target with its ADCs?
We are looking to build out a pipeline of ADCs targeting solid tumours and hope to share more on that in the coming year. Our ADC technology has broad applicability and could be used to develop targeted treatments for a vast number of different therapeutic areas.
Can your linker technology be applied to develop ADCs for indications outside of oncology?
Our linker technology platform has the potential to develop ADCs that target a wide range of different types of diseases, beyond cancer. However, Araris plans to remain focused on developing its own pipeline of ADCs for oncology indications for the time being.
About the author
Philipp Spycher, PhD
Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Araris Biotech
As the inventor of the Araris ADC Technology, Philipp has a profound background in Bioconjugation and ADCs. He was the founding CEO since the inception of Araris in 2019 securing $40M in financing from Swiss, UK, US and Korean investors and $2.5M non-dilutive financing from the Swiss Accelerator Grant (5% funding rate). He positioned Araris to shift the paradigm in how to think about developing targeted cancer therapies and since October 2023, he transitioned to become its CSO. During his post-doctoral work at PSI, he introduced the novel approach using transglutaminases for antibody conjugation that led to the discovery of the Araris ADC Technology. He obtained his Master’s Degree and PhD from ETH Zurich at the interface of Material Science and Protein Engineering.