Novel ADC Therapy
Elthera AG was founded in 2016 by experienced pharmaceutical and biotech executives with the goal of developing proprietary, first-in-class oncology drugs. The Company selected the novel target, L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM) as a therapeutic target. L1CAM is a cell surface protein aberrantly expressed in many different solid tumor types and for which the patients’ prognosis is poor. By early 2022, the team had completed non-clinical studies convincingly supporting the efficacy and safety of the monoclonal antibody, ELT048, used as a component of an antibody drug conjugate (ADC).
Elthera’s senior management had established and maintained contact with a large number of companies voicing potential interest in ELT048 over the course of its development. Several companies had been allowed to review the confidential data and a term sheet for licensing the asset had been received. The Board of Directors of Elthera decided that further advancement of the asset could be best conducted by a company experienced with ADCs, and that the timing was right to solicit offers from a broader set of companies who had either shown interest in ELT048 or had a profile suggesting they could become interested.
In June 2022, Elthera appointed Plexus Ventures to conduct the out-licensing of ELT048 with the objective to ensure that all potentially interested parties were informed of the opportunity and invited to assess the program. Plexus’ innovation team prepared the non-confidential and confidential documentation that provided each potential bidder the information needed to prepare their non-binding offers. Plexus contacted over 80 companies targeted for their strategic interest in immuno- oncology, of which over 25% chose to execute CDAs to learn more about the opportunity. Multiple non-binding and binding offers were submitted.
In Q4 2022, as offers were received and meetings with bidders were held, the management and Board of Directors could ascertain the true market value of ELT048 and assess the expertise of the companies bidding for the asset. In February 2023, Elthera and LegoChem Biosciences of South Korea announced a license agreement to permit LegoChem to develop and commercialize a novel ADC using the monoclonal antibody developed by Elthera.