Bioconjugation, in its broadest definition, is the chemical modification of biomolecules to enhance or alter the properties of a biomolecule. The biomolecule can be any biological entity, and the modification typically occurs via a reactive handle that sits on the biomolecule and selectively reacts with a linker payload molecule to form a covalent bond. A prominent type of bioconjugate is antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), which is a powerful class of therapeutic agents in oncology and hematology that is gaining momentum in today’s market.
Seven ADCs have been approved just since 2019, and recent investment activity between key players in the industry signal an emerging area with numerous opportunities. Nevertheless, despite the promise of these biopharmaceutical Trojan horses, the drug development road for a bioconjugate is an arduous one, with many potential challenges and pitfalls throughout all of the life cycle stages, from lead discovery to market approval. Understanding the obstacles you may face in your journey as well as the tools available to help overcome them can help streamline your product’s path to market, facilitating the growth and distribution of this expanding class of innovative therapies.
- Raphael Frey, Team Lead, Early Development Bioconjugates
- Sandro Holzer, Head of Process Development, Bioconjugates, Lonza Pharma & Biotech