In the 1980’s, Dr. Edward W. Martin, Jr. (Surgical Oncologist) and Dr. Marlin O. Thurston (Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering) of The Ohio State University (OSU) pioneered the development of an innovative system for detecting cancer. They believed that tumor could be detected by using radiolabeled cancer-specific monoclonal antibodies. This technique allowed the surgeon to find sites of cancer that were not otherwise apparent by traditional surgical methods of inspection and palpation, resulting in a more accurate assessment of the location of tumor and the extent of disease. The surgical removal of the disease identified by this technology has been shown to confer a definite survival advantage to patients.
The family of monoclonal antibodies used with this technology was originally developed by Dr. Jeffrey Schlom at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These monoclonal antibodies specifically target the tumor-associated glycoprotein called TAG-72. TAG-72 is a shed antigen by-product (a mucin-like glycoprotein) that is over-produced by many human adenocarcinomas (i.e., colorectal, gastric, pancreatic, esophageal, ovarian, endometrial, breast, prostate, and lung) and is present within the interstitial environment around the cancer cells.
In 1986, Dr. Martin established a collaboration with Dr. Schlom for use of his anti-TAG-72 antibodies in human clinical investigations. That same year, Dr. Martin began clinical use of a first generation anti-TAG-72 murine monoclonal antibody, B72.3. In 1990, Dr. Martin and Dr. Mark Arnold initiated clinical use of a second generation anti-TAG-72 murine monoclonal antibody, muCC49. This was followed in 2001 by the first clinical use of a third generation antibody, HuCC49DeltaCH2, a humanized version of CC49.
In 2011, Enlyton acquired worldwide exclusive rights to 3E8, a fourth generation, humanized, affinity optimized monoclonal antibody against TAG-72. This has led to the development of a series of antibody fragments based on the 3E8 scaffold that have exceptional stability and binding and optimal pharmacokinetics for in vivo imaging. Enlyton has an exclusive worldwide license to these fragments from Ohio State, including our first lead molecule, ENL210.