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Founded1996 (1996)
West Lafayette, Indiana
United State
Key people
Mike Sherman, President and CEO
Number of employees

Endocyte (NASDAQ: ECYT) is a biopharmaceutical company established in 1996 and headquartered in West Lafayette, Indiana,[1] a resident of the Purdue Research Park.[2] In 2011 the company completed successfully an initial public offering (IPO).[3] As of 2013, the company had 93 employees.[1] The original president and CEO, Ron Ellis,[1] was succeeded by Mike Sherman, who held a CFO position at the company before this change in June 2016.

Endocyte is advancing the first technology platform for the creation of small molecule drug conjugates (a.k.a. SMDCs), which consist of a small molecule linked to a potent drug, and is developing a pipeline of SMDCs together with non-invasive companion imaging agents for cancer, inflammatory diseases and kidney disease (autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease/ADPKDor PKD).[1][4] Endocyte’s lead drug candidate is vintafolide, an investigational targeted cancer therapeutic in late-stage development. In 2012 marketing rights were acquired by Merck for $120 million in an upfront payment and up to $880 million in milestone payments.[5] Vintafolide is a small molecule drug conjugate consisting of a small molecule targeting the folate receptor, which is expressed on many cancers, such as ovarian cancer, and a potent chemotherapy drug, a derivative of vinblastine.[1] Endocyte retained rights to the development and commercialization of etarfolatide.[5]

Endocyte’s other preclinical drug candidates also target the folate receptor as well as prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) receptors.[1] The company was formed based on technology developed by Philip Low (the company's CSO), and Christopher Leamon, PhD, the company’s VP of research. This technology is a folic acid-based drug delivery system,[1] referred to now as folate targeting.[6] The company is also developing SMDCs with varying drug payloads as well as different ligands for other molecular targets, such as prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) and has also developed, with Bristol-Myers Squibb, an epothilone-folic acid conjugate (BMS-753493), described at a 2008 conference.[7]

In mid-October 2018, Novartis announced it would acquire Endocyte Inc for $2.1 billion ($24 per share) merging it with a newly created subsidiary.[8][9] Endocyte will bolster Novartis' offering in its radiopharmaceuticals business, with Endocyte's first in class candidate 177Lu-PSMA-617 being targeted against metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Potera, Carol (1 April 2013). "Exploiting Folate Pathways to Treat Cancer". Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. 33 (7). pp. 12, 14.
  2. ^ "Clinical Trials Update", Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, 29 (8): 58, 2009
  3. ^ "Drugmaker Endocyte Rises 29% After Initial Public Offering".
  4. ^ "Endocyte's kidney conjugates get right to the spot - FiercePharma". www.fiercedrugdelivery.com.
  5. ^ a b "Endocyte soars on cancer drug deal with Merck". 16 April 2012 – via www.reuters.com.
  6. ^ Leamon, C. P.; Low, P. S. (1 July 1991). "Delivery of macromolecules into living cells: a method that exploits folate receptor endocytosis". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 88 (13): 5572–5576. doi:10.1073/pnas.88.13.5572. PMC 51919. PMID 2062838 – via www.pnas.org.
  7. ^ Covello, Kelly; Flefleh, Christine; Menard, Krista; et al. (12–16 April 2008). Preclinical pharmacology of epothilone-folate conjugate BMS-753493, a tumor-targeting agent selected for clinical development. Proceedings of the 99th Annual Meeting of AACR. San Diego, California, United States. Abstract #2326.
  8. ^ "Novartis to buy cancer drugmaker Endocyte for $2.1 billion in cash". 18 October 2018 – via uk.reuters.com.
  9. ^ "Novartis pushes deeper into nuclear medicine with $2.1 billion deal". 18 October 2018 – via uk.reuters.com.
  10. ^ "Novartis announces planned acquisition of Endocyte to expand expertise in radiopharmaceuticals and build on commitment to transformational therapeutic platforms". Novartis.

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