The Korea Herald


Starpharma signs new DEP® agreement with MSD


Published : Aug. 10, 2022 - 17:00

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MELBOURNE, Australia, Aug. 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Australian biotechnology company Starpharma today announced it has signed a new DEP® Research Agreement with MSD, the trade name of Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC, Rahway, NJ, USA.

This new DEP® program will generate and evaluate additional DEP® Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs).

This new agreement follows an earlier DEP® Antibody Drug Conjugate (ADC) agreement that Starpharma signed with MSD in February 2021 as well as an expanded DEP® Research Agreement with another large US biopharmaceutical company in June 2022.

"We are very pleased to add this new DEP® ADC program with MSD and to continue building on our partnership with them in such an innovative and valuable area. This new DEP® program underlines the potential clinical and commercial value our DEP® technology can deliver," said Dr Jackie Fairley, CEO of Starpharma.

"This is the second DEP® partnering agreement that Starpharma has signed in the last two months, signifying increased momentum and interest in the DEP® platform."

Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) have become an increasingly valuable class of therapeutic agents in oncology and hematology. The design of ADCs incorporates the specific cell targeting property of antibodies with the cell killing properties of chemically conjugated drugs, to provide a targeted therapeutic with minimal off target toxicities.

Starpharma's DEP® ADCs have the potential to overcome the limitation of relatively low drug loading that is a feature of first-generation ADCs. The DEP® technology allows precise attachment of drug loaded dendrimer(s) to targeting molecules with a high load of covalently link drug (4, 8,16, 32 drug molecules per dendrimer) providing a selective, homogeneous ADC with a significantly higher drug-antibody ratio (DAR) as compared to currently available ADCs.

Starpharma has previously demonstrated the advantages of DEP® in ADCs in multiple preclinical studies, including for DEP® HER-2 ADC, which showed significant tumour regression and 100% survival, outperforming Herceptin & Kadcyla in a human ovarian cancer model. DEP® ADCs are the subject of both internal and partnered DEP® programs.

Starpharma has multiple DEP® partnerships with leading, international companies, including AstraZeneca, MSD, and Chase Sun, and the company's DEP® technology has already yielded four clinical-stage oncology products.

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