The Endocyte Drug Development Process

Precision medicine at work

The Endocyte drug-development engine is designed with the goal of producing many precision drugs across disease categories. Our unique drug development process involves three steps designed to maximize development success and reduce clinical risk.

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Step 1: Validate the Target Receptor

Our process begins by screening diseased cells for unique receptors. After identifying a receptor, we design a targeting ligand that binds with high affinity to the target receptor. The targeting ligand is then attached to a radionuclide to create a companion imaging agent whose biologic activity can be viewed with widely available nuclear imaging equipment.

The companion imaging agent enables testing in preclinical animal models and humans to find out whether the SMDC targets the diseased cells and not normal cells. Etarfolatide (EC20), our folate receptor companion imaging agent, has demonstrated targeting in cancer and other diseases.

Step 2: Build a Pipeline of Precision Therapies

Once the targeting ligand has been validated in humans, a variety of highly active therapeutic molecules are screened. We look for highly active drugs with dose-limiting toxicities.

After a drug is identified, we attach it to the validated targeting ligand and compare it to the free drug in in vitro and in vivo models. If the SMDC is better than the free drug in terms of efficacy and safety, it is advanced into the clinic. By repeating this process for each drug, we aim to build a pipeline of unique precision drugs with potentially superior safety and efficacy.

Step 3: Identify Patients Likely to Respond

The final step is to use companion imaging agents to identify patients likely to respond to a targeted therapy. These companion imaging agents use the same targeting ligands and modular structure as the SMDC and are incorporated into all of our clinical studies to determine whether each patient is an appropriate candidate for the therapeutic drug.