Astellas and Sony ink deal to develop ADC platform

Using Sony Corporation’s KIRAVIA Backbone material, Astellas Pharma has partnered with the firm to jointly discover an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) platform.

The collaborative research agreement, of which financial details have not been disclosed, will focus on developing an ADC platform in oncology using Sony’s polymeric material, KIRAVIA Backbone, as a linker. The linker  delivers anti-cancer drugs to targeted cells and aims to improve therapeutic efficacy by reaching high Drug-to-Antibody Ratio (DAR).

According to both parties, the linkers conjugates antibodies and drugs and is pivotal to the development of a better-performing ADC.


In addition, Japanese biopharma firm Astellas will run non-clinical trials of development candidates. Moreover, in an effort to build a drug discovery platform not limited to just ADCs as a modality, the pair will discuss expanding the research partnerships  to reach different targets.

“We are pleased to enter into a joint research agreement with Sony,” said Yoshitsugu Shitaka, chief scientific officer, Astellas.

“Astellas is working to create innovative drugs from a multifaceted perspective called the Focus Area approach, which identifies combinations of biology, therapeutic modality or technology and diseases with high unmet medical needs. The partnership will further strengthen our ability to utilize suitable modalities. It is our expectation that the collaboration will lead to the continuous creation of innovative drugs for patients around the world.”

In June 2022, Astellas partnered with Californian biotech Sutro Biopharma to codevelop immunostimulatory antibody-drug conjugates (iADCs) for three biological targets in a $90 million deal.