One notable return to the forefront of biological agents was evident with a stream dedicated to Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs). Many will recall long ago, about 15 years back, when many considered the development of ADCs as potential “magic bullets” that would be developed as highly specific agents targeted against cancer and other such diseases. ADCs are antibody or antibody derived scaffolds linked to a cytotoxic payload that will be highly specific for a therapeutic target. The cytotoxic payload will only be released once the target has been reached thus potentially avoiding adverse affects that accompany treatment with many therapeutic agents currently on the market. New molecular scaffolds, linker chemistries and toxic payloads are providing breakthrough technologies that researchers anticipate will finally help bring novel ADC drugs to the market, as evidenced by the recent approval of brentuximab vedotin (marketed as Adcetris) in August, 2011. Coupled with new insights into mechanisms of immunogenicity, novel assay technologies and improvements in bioprocessing the field of biological therapeutics appears to be gaining momentum with hundreds of clinical trials currently underway.
Presentations were held in several locations within the hotel covering a wide range of topics from overcoming challenges in protein expression to bispecific antibody optimization to up-to-date clinical trial data.
Spring was evident with the greening of Boston Common. Unfortunately it had to be viewed under cloudy or rainy skies for most of the event.