Chinese cancer biotech Adagene has filed to raise up to $125 million in a Nasdaq IPO. The listing will give Adagene the means to run early-phase clinical trials of antibodies against CD137 and CTLA-4.
Adagene is built on a platform designed to expand the available binding sites well beyond what is possible with conventional natural or synthetic antibodies. Working with the platform, Adagene has developed candidates it thinks have an edge over other drugs targeting CD137 and CTLA-4.
Drug developers including Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer are working on drugs against CD137, the target of ADG106. What sets ADG106 apart, according to Adagene, is its targeting of a unique conserved epitope of CD137 that gives it a novel mechanism of action. An end of phase 1 meeting for a clinical trial of ADG106 in solid tumors is scheduled for this quarter.
Two drugs targeting CTLA-4, ADG126 and ADG116, are following Adagene down the pipeline. The drugs, both of which are in phase 1, are based on different technologies. Adagene plans to focus on ADG126, the first asset generated using its SAFEbody technology.
SAFEbody is designed to prevent an antibody from binding to its target in healthy tissues. Antibodies featuring the technology should only bind to their targets when exposed to conditions found in the tumor microenvironment. Adagene has applied the technology to CTLA-4 in the belief it can better the safety of existing antibodies against the target, notably Bristol Myers’ Yervoy.
Around one-quarter of the IPO money will fund phase 1 development and the advancement into phase 2 for ADG106, with another quarter supporting the same work on ADG126 and ADG116. Most of the rest of the money is earmarked for the development of the platform and preclinical programs.