Contract Pharma: Trends in the Development of ADCs

25th January 2024

Targeting tumor heterogeneity with antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and novel payloads.

In Contract Pharma’s latest issue, Abzena’s CTO, Dr Louise Duffy discusses the evolution of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and how they represent a promising approach to tackling tumor heterogeneity. She shares insights into recent advancements in payloads that modulate the immune system and provides insights into Abzena’s unique ThioBridge® conjugation technology and how it improves the potency and efficacy of ADCs.


The challenge of tumor heterogeneity has long been a significant obstacle in cancer treatment, particularly in cases like breast cancer where diverse cell populations within a tumor can lead to drug resistance, recurrence, and metastasis. Traditional chemotherapy agents often struggled with these complexities, revealing their limited efficacy against the varied cell types within tumors. In response to this challenge, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) have emerged as a promising solution.

ADCs are a class of targeted cancer therapies combining the specificity of antibodies with the cytotoxic power of chemotherapeutic agents. This synergy allows for selective delivery of drugs to cancer cells, potentially reducing the side effects associated with traditional chemotherapy. Since their inception, ADCs have undergone significant advancements, improving their safety profile and therapeutic efficacy.

Here, we’ll focus on how recent advancements in ADCs, particularly those involving innovative payloads, are addressing the challenge of tumor heterogeneity. We’ll explore the scientific advancements in ADC payloads, including dual-action drugs and immune system modulators, and their impact on treating heterogeneous tumors to offer a clear informative view of the current state and future potential of ADCs in cancer treatment.

Click here to read the full article

About the author:

Louise Duffy, Chief Technical Officer (CTO)

Louise Duffy is focused on the scientific and technical aspects associated with Abzena’s portfolio from early development to commercial production.  Louise is responsible for leading and driving Abzena’s technical CMC strategy, providing technical and CMC regulatory leadership and guidance to project teams while working collaboratively with clients for project success.

With a career spanning over 30 years, Louise has deep expertise in the development, technology transfer, and supply of biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, and cell & gene therapies. She has in-depth experience in the development of strategic CMC approaches to support successful global regulatory inspections and filings such as INDs, IMPDs, BLA, and MAAs.  Prior to joining Abzena in 2020 she was an independent consultant in biopharmaceuticals and cell and gene therapies and has held senior leadership roles in GlaxoSmithKline as VP & Global Supply Chain Head, Biopharmaceuticals and Janssen R&D (J&J) as VP & Global Head, Strategic Sciences.

Louise contributes and speaks at organizations including BioPhorum, PDA and ISPE. Louise is on multiple scientific advisory panels.  Louise holds a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, London, and a B.Sc. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.