Expert Review

Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 29, Issue 9, pp 2354-2366

First online:

Pharmacokinetic Considerations for Antibody Drug Conjugates

  • Kedan LinAffiliated withGenentech Research and Early Development
  • , Jay TibbittsAffiliated withEarly Development Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics, Genentech, Inc. Email author 

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Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) are a class of therapeutics that combine the target specificity of an antibody with the potency of a chemotherapeutic. This therapeutic strategy can significantly expand the therapeutic index of a chemotherapeutic by minimizing the systemic exposure and associated toxicity of the chemotherapeutic agent, while simultaneously maximizing the delivery of the chemotherapeutic to the target. The abundance of antibody targets, coupled with advances in antibody engineering, conjugation chemistry, and examples of early clinical success, have stimulated interest in developing ADCs. However, developing and optimizing the highly complex components of ADCs remain challenging. Understanding the pharmacokinetics (PK) and consequently the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PKPD) properties of ADCs is critical for their successful development. This review discusses the PK properties of ADCs, with a focus on ADC-specific characteristics, including molecular heterogeneity, in vivo processing, and the implications of multiple analytes. The disposition of ADCs and the utility of PKPD modeling are discussed in the context of providing guidance to assist in the successful development of these complex molecules.


antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) optimization pharmacodynamics pharmacokinetics