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The new anticancer drug has been developed by the biopharmaceutical company Byondis from Nijmegen, the Netherlands. A recent and large study shows that their drug does exactly what it is supposed to do: It attacks cancer cells with precision. The introduction of the medicine now seems only a matter of time.

Precise ‘missiles’

Byondis sprang from Synthon Biopharmaceuticals and has been conducting research into an anti-breast cancer drug for fourteen years. Byondis developed a so-called Antibody Drug Conjugate (ADC) for this purpose.

These ADCs are a kind of remote-controlled ‘missiles’ that attack a tumour in a very targeted manner. The aim is to kill cancer cells and spare healthy tissue, unlike many drugs now used in the treatment of breast cancer. “This is consequently very beneficial for patients,” says Marco Timmers, CEO at Byondis. “ADCs have better tumour-killing properties and exhibit fewer side effects than most chemotherapy.”


The effectiveness and safety of the [vic-] trastuzumab duocarmazine (SYD985) were studied in this third phase clinical trial. This was conducted among more than 400 women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. The study was carried out in Europe, North America and Asia and showed that it takes significantly longer for the disease to progress and for tumours to grow than with other drugs that doctors prescribe for this patient group.

Unleashed in the tumour

The detailed results will be announced later this year. The substances that are supposed to kill the tumour are inactive until the moment that they are released into the tumour. If the substances are accidentally released too early or ‘leak’ out of the tumour, they go on and self-destruct. The earlier generation of ADCs also proved effective in the targeted detection and killing of cancer cells, but could become unstable in the bloodstream. This sometimes led to the cytotoxins being released too early, thereby damaging healthy cells.

ADCs have better tumour-killing properties.” CEO Marco Timmers

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CEO Marco Timmers

Off to the market

Timmers is not only delighted with the outcome, but also with the way in which the study was carried out. “A large study among cancer patients is always tricky, but even more so during a worldwide pandemic. Nevertheless, we could rely on the amazing dedication of everyone involved.” Now that the research results of this phase 3 study have been confirmed as positive and the clinical phase has been completed, Byondis can start searching for a pharmaceutical partner to bring the new drug to the market in the near future.

Also interesting: AI can already detect breast cancer better than a specialist