Agensys is dedicated to the fight against cancer and has a long history of oncology research with leadership that has extensive experience in oncology drug discovery. Many of Agensys’ targets were first discovered at Agensys as being preferentially expressed in tumors using suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH). The database of targets resulting from this work has yielded a number of promising candidates some of which have now been advanced to the clinical stage. In addition, Agensys was one of the first oncology groups to begin building a panel of patient-derived tumor xenografts. These xenografts maintain a more native morphology and gene expression and are used to identify and validate targets, some of which are not represented or whose function is not conserved in cell lines. This panel has grown to provide nearly 100 novel cancer models representing 14 tumor indications.
Agensys focuses on generation of fully human therapeutic antibodies and specializes in two particular antibody modalities. One is functional or “naked” antibodies, such as AGS-1C4D4 which is entering phase III studies for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. These antibodies work by directly modulating the activity of the target molecule and/or by mediating cell killing through effector functions such as antibody dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) or complement dependent cytotoxicity (CDC). The second modality is antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) such as AGS-16M8F, ASG-5ME, and ASG-22ME that are all in phase I studies for treatment of various solid tumors. These ADCs combine the targeting ability and PK properties of an antibody with the cytotoxicity of a potent toxin. Our collaboration with Seattle Genetics provides access to linker/drugs for this purpose.
In addition to advancing a pipeline of therapeutics using these established platforms, Agensys is actively pursuing next generation technologies to continue to improve the safety and efficacy of its anti-cancer therapeutics.