Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is among the most common and lethal cancers yet, the current standard of care for advanced stage NSCLC provides only modest improvements in overall survival or quality of life. Thus, there exists a significant unmet need for new effective therapies to treat NSCLC. Herein we describe an innovative new type of antibody drug conjugate (ADC) to target NSCLC. The core innovation of the proposed ADC derives from the use of a stable covalent linker between the drug cargo (a novel steroidal glycoside) and the cancer-targeting mAb (anti-FXYD5), both of which act upon the extracellular face of the cancer cell. This elegantly simple design eliminates the need for ADC internalization or engineered drug cargo release (the two major liabilities of existing ADCs) and thereby offers a paradigm shift in ADC technology. While the phase I studies described herein are focused upon NSCLC as the model, it is anticipated the novel ADC described herein will be equally effective for the treatment of other difficult cancers. Furthermore, since there exist many other suitable extracellular antigen/drug targets toward which this concept could be applied, success of the proof of concept studies described herein could open the door to an array of new promising ADCs.
We propose to develop the first cancer-targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that does not require either internalization or engineered drug release. This ADC presents a paradigm shift in ADC technology and is thereby anticipated to transform the future development of targeted therapies to treat cancer.