Firefly Bio has launched from stealth to advance oncological therapies using degrader antibody conjugates (DACs).

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

February 21, 2024

1 Min Read

According to the San Francisco-based firm, its focus is on the development of DACs, which represent amalgamation of antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) and protein degraders to treat cancer.  

“DACs are a new modality for cancer,” said Scott Hirsch, CEO of Firefly. “They give us the ability to hit biologically validated targets with minimal collateral damage. Our platform enables DACs at scale and vastly expands the number of payloads for ADCs.”

According to the firm, both ADCs and protein degraders are important, but have several limitations including “limited therapeutic index due to their broadly cytotoxic payloads”, and “lack the ability to knock down specific intracellular proteins.” 

Whereas protein degraders “struggle with bioavailability and do not have the ability for cell-specific targeting.” 

Firefly aims to work on the strength of ADCs and protein degraders through its Firelink linker technology platform. Using potent catalytic protein degraders as the payloads of ADCs, the platform combines these modalities, decreasing free payload in circulation and minimizing uptake in healthy cells. Thus, reducing the dosage and optimal outputs. 

The firm claims that a single dose of its DACs has shown “significant reductions” in both solid and liquid tumors during preclinical studies. 

“At Firefly, we’ve assembled a unique talent base and platform to significantly advance this promising field,” said Jerel Davis, board member at Firefly. “The company has made rapid progress and is poised to become the leader in discovering clinically meaningful DACs in oncology and immunology.” 

The financing was led by Versant Ventures, and MPM BioImpact along with Decheng Capital and Eli Lilly & Company.  

Firefly did not respond when contacted by this publication.

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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