Antibody-drug conjugates are shaping the future of cancer treatments

Published: 24-Jun-2024

Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are skyrocketing in popularity for the treatment of various cancers, states a novel whitepaper from Novotech

Novotech, a clinical contract research organisation (CRO), has released a key research whitepaper entitled ‘Antibody-drug conjugates — Global Clinical Trial Landscape. 

The research paper delves into how antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are influencing the cancer therapeutics industry.

ADCs are special due to their ability to combine the precision of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with an additional cytotoxic element, assuring targeted drug delivery with minimal side effects.

The white paper specifically covers:

  • The evolution of ADCs
  • Key milestones in ADC development 
  • Technological advancements 
  • Clinical successes
  • The commercial landscape of ADC development 


The growing presence of ADCs in the cancer treatment realm

There has been a substantial rise in ADC research and development, with more than 150 compounds in clinical trials and 15 drugs already approved by the FDA.

When observing recent clinical trial activity of ADC therapies, a significant expansion has occurred during the last 6 years, with nearly 1,000 trials being initiated between 2019 to 2023.

The Asia-Pacific region emerged as a frontrunner in their development, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 42.7%, underscoring its pivotal role in advancing research and development in this space. 

North America maintained steady growth at 25.2% CAGR, while Europe saw a moderate rise with 13.6%. 

The United States and China led trial efforts, with contributions from other countries such as Spain, Australia and South Korea.


Commercial interest rises

The report also highlights a 30% increase in ADC-related publications during the last three years, signalling growing commercial interest in translating academic breakthroughs into tangible clinical applications. 

The United States leads in both publications and patents, followed by China, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Breast cancer and lymphoma dominated ADC research, with growth observed in breast cancer and myeloma studies.
Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Phase II trials dominated the global ADC clinical trial landscape, representing over 50% of all trials
  • Oncology emerged as the primary therapeutic focus, with over 97% (600) of ADC trials, with Asia-Pacific leading in trial numbers at 40%, North America at 31%, Europe and ROW contributing 18% and 11% respectively
  • The industry sees a diverse landscape of targeted antigens and cytotoxic payloads, though tubulin inhibitors emerge as the predominant choice 
  • More than 340 companies are engaged in ADC development 
  • Around 200 ADCs are currently in development for prevalent cancers like breast and lung cancer.

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