AstraZeneca among backers as Swiss cancer biotech raises $200 million

Lluis Corominas, spokesperson for Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) party, speaks during a news conference at the Catalan Parliament in Barcelona, Spain October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

LONDON (Reuters) – An unlisted Swiss biotech company focused on developing “armed antibodies” to fight cancer has raised $200 million in a funding round backed by AstraZeneca and other private backers.

The new money will allow ADC Therapeutics (ADCT) to advance two experimental drugs into clinical trials next year, which could be used to seek regulatory approval, as well as funding earlier-stage research.

ADCT specializes in developing so-called antibody drug conjugates that combine an antibody with a killer toxin to attack tumors. Roche’s breast cancer drug Kadcyla is a well-known example of this new type of medicine.

The latest financing means ADCT has raised a total of $455 million since its inception in 2012, when it was founded by Auven Therapeutics.

ADCT is headed by Chief Executive Chris Martin, who previously led British-based cancer specialist Spirogen, which was bought by AstraZeneca in October 2013.

The British drugmaker took a $20 million equity investment in ADCT at that time.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by David Goodman)

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Former reporter and currently mareeg media representative in Somalia