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AstraZeneca Challenge: Molecular Strategies to Minimize Off-Target Toxicities of Antibody Drug Conjugates

Posted July 31, 2019

An antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) is comprised of an antibody connected to a cytotoxic agent with a linker. ADCs are designed to selectively target tumors via binding to specific markers found on the cell surface. Although many ADCs are in clinical development, only a few are FDA approved. To improve the efficacy of ADCs in the treatment of cancer, the Seeker is looking for innovative molecular strategies to minimizing off-target toxicities of ADCs.

Image credit: Bioconjugator/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 4.0

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.


The therapeutic activity of ADCs depends on recognition of the cell surface target antigen, internalization of the ADC upon target binding, and release of the cytotoxic agent within the cell. Off-target binding of the ADCs results in limited efficacy and unwanted toxicities. The Seeker calls for new molecular (i.e. antibody engineering) and chemical (e.g. linker design, tumor restricted release mechanisms, pro-drug approaches) strategies for creating ADCs that are solely active at the tumor site or at the tumor microenvironment thus minimizing off-target toxicities.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on September 30, 2019.

About the Seeker

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led, biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of disease in three main therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases and Respiratory. AstraZeneca also is selectively active in the areas of autoimmunity, neuroscience and infection.

Source: InnoCentive

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