• Currently approved antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are large molecules (150 kDa) composed of an antibody, a cytotoxic payload and a linker linking the two previous elements.
  • Debiopharm issued an ADC Innovation Challenge to a group of international “problem solvers” within the global Wazoku network to propose chemical conjugation methods that apply to small-format antibodies
  • The winning proposal will receive a monetary prize and will be acquired by Debiopharm, a leader in drug development, for further development

LAUSANNE, Switzerland , September 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Debiopharm (, a global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Switzerland, today announced the launch of a global open innovation challenge aimed at identifying an efficient method to bind a cytotoxic payload or traceable to a small antibody format, from which the crystallizable fragment (Fc) has been removed. To address the need to limit the non-specific action of drugs with small ADC fragments, Debiopharm uses a collaborative approach, as practiced in its business model, of leveraging the world as a laboratory of innovation. Through Wazoku, an open innovation crowdsourcing platform, the challenge was launched globally for participants from diverse backgrounds, including science, engineering and technology. This challenge will require the submission of a written proposal directly through the Wazoku platform before October 15e2022.

ADCs are a class of biopharmaceutical drugs designed as a targeted therapy or diagnostic tool known for the treatment of solid and liquid cancers. ADCs are large, complex molecules composed of an antibody, with two Fabs and one Fc, bound to a biologically active cytotoxic payload. ADCs are designed to target and kill specific cells while sparing healthy cells. Nevertheless, due to their large size (150 kDa), conventional ADCs are exposed to tumor penetration problems as well as non-specific binding, which ultimately affects the quality of diagnosis or therapy. Small format antibody (like (Fab)2, Fab, scFv, etc.) are significantly smaller and therefore penetrate tissues more efficiently. They are also eliminated more quickly from the body and thus offer an ideal method for diagnostic imaging. Through this Challenge, Debiopharm hopes to develop new non-invasive diagnostic methods and improve the specificity of Drug Targeting to best preserve healthy tissue. For more information on the challenge “Selective conjugation method for small-format antibodies” (ID: 9527228833), go here.

“With over 40 years of experience, we have learned that collaboration is key to finding new solutions to unmet medical needs. Through active open innovation strategies, we want to provide new treatments for cancer patients. Frederic LevySenior Executive Director, Research and Evaluation, Debiopharm.

Specializing in the manufacture and development of oncology and antibiotic therapies, Debiopharm has entered into this research collaboration to extend the ADC technologies developed in-house, AbYlinkMT and multilinkMT. The first binding technology allows cytotoxic or traceable payloads to be selectively attached to the Fc portion of the antibody while the second binding technology is suitable for multiple drug binding. For more information on either delivery technology, visit here.

After the contest submission period, the company will evaluate each entry and provide notification of the winning solution.

About Wazoku
Wazoku is a pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing and large-scale innovation. For more than two decades, Wazoku has helped clients deliver sustainable and scalable innovation practices. With our innovation management platform and Wazoku Crowd, organizations can continuously explore opportunities and solve problems – internally and externally. For more information, visit

Debiopharm’s commitment to patients
Debiopharm aims to develop innovative therapies that target significant unmet medical needs in oncology and bacterial infections. Bridging the gap between disruptive discovery products and real patient reach, we identify compounds and technologies with high potential for out-licensing, clinically demonstrate their safety and efficacy, and then select great pharmaceutical commercialization partners for maximize patient access globally.
For more information, visit
We are on Twitter. Follow us @DebiopharmNews at

Contact Debiopharm
Dawn Bonine
Responsible for the communication
[email protected]
Tel: +41 (0)21 321 01 11

SOURCE Debiopharm International SA

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