Our technology platform has enabled us to develop multiple new SMDCs for a range of disease indications. Each SMDC is comprised of three modules: a targeting ligand, a linker and a drug payload. Our companion imaging diagnostics employ the same modular structure as our SMDCs replacing the drug payload with an imaging agent.
Targeting Ligand – Our technology is founded on our high-affinity small molecule ligands that bind to over-expressed receptors on target cells, while largely avoiding healthy cells. We are developing a number of targeting ligands to address a broad range of cancers and other diseases.
Linker System – Our linker system attaches the targeting ligand to the drug payload or imaging agent. It is designed to be stable in the bloodstream and to release the active drug from the targeting ligand when the SMDC is taken up by the diseased cell. The linker system can be customized for each SMDC and each companion imaging diagnostic to improve its pharmacologic properties.
Drug Payload – This module is the biologically active component of our SMDCs. The majority of our drug payloads are highly active molecules that are too toxic to be administered in their untargeted forms at therapeutic dose levels. We are using drug payloads in our SMDCs that were shown in our in-vitro preclinical studies to be between 10,000 and 100,000 times more highly active than traditional cancer cell-killing drugs such as cisplatin.
With our modular approach, we use a variety of different targeting ligands, linker systems and drug payloads to create a pipeline of novel SMDC candidates for clinical development. For example, our PSMA targeting technology uses a targeting ligand that specifically binds to a receptor over-expressed on the surface of prostate cancer cells. We have developed alternative linker systems that modulate the pharmacologic and biodistribution properties of our SMDCs. In addition, we have developed a linker system that allows us to conjugate multiple drug payloads to a single targeting ligand, thus offering the potential to simultaneously disrupt multiple pathways within cancer cells, forming a novel strategy for addressing drug resistance. We can also attach a wide variety of different drug payloads to our targeting ligands to address different disease indications. For example, we have SMDCs in preclinical development which incorporate proven anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory drug classes, such as microtubule destabilizers, DNA alkylators, proteasome inhibitors and mTOR inhibitors.
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