Antibody Drug Conjugates Are Worth Watching, OptumRx Says

In its newest Drug Pipeline Insights Report, OptumRx highlighted recently approved or soon-to-be-approved drugs that might significantly impact payers and patients. In its latest quarterly report, though, the UnitedHealth Group-owned PBM also put special emphasis on one emerging and potentially costly category of therapies: antibody drug conjugates (ADCs).

ADCs work by combining engineered antibodies — called monoclonal antibodies — with a “potent small-molecule chemotherapy payload” to fight certain cancers, the report explains. Since monoclonal antibodies can discriminate between healthy and cancerous tissues, they are able to deliver chemotherapy drugs that would otherwise be way too powerful to use on their own. For example, in Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecanis-hziy), which the FDA approved on April 22 to treat an aggressive type of breast cancer, the “chemical payload” is 100 to 1,000 times more toxic than traditional anticancer agents, the OptumRx report pointed out.

© 2021 MMIT

Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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