Building tomorrow's antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs)

Araris Biotech AG, a spin-off company from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and ETH Zurich, is pioneering the development of a novel, proprietary antibody-drug conjugate (ADC)-linker technology. Our linker platform enables payload attachment to ‘off-the-shelf’ antibodies in one step without needing to re-engineer or reduce antibodies, resulting in highly homogenous, stable and potent ADC therapies. Learn more

Antibody-drug conjugate (ADC)

ADCs are powerful biopharmaceuticals, delivering highly toxic drugs, or payloads, specifically to cancer cells.

ADCs consist of payloads connected to antibodies through a specific linker. The molecular design enables the highly selective delivery of any payload, often a potent anti-cancer drug, to the diseased tissue, while healthy parts of the human body are spared. 

Problems of current ADC technologies:

Our solution: Araris Linker Technology

We are pioneering a proprietary peptide linker technology that will give us the ability to design and develop homogenous, stable, highly soluble and high-quality ADC products in a cost- and time-effective manner. 

  • Superior Design: Our linker technology enables site-specific payload attachment to a privileged attachment site on a specific amino acid (Q295) within the IgG-Fc framework. When a payload is attached to this site, the antibody still maintains nearly identical performance (e.g. pharmacokinetics and effector functions) to the unconjugated, original antibody. Furthermore, the linker-payload is connected to the antibody through a very strong peptide bond resulting in exceptional stability in the blood stream and therefore, avoidance of healthy tissue damage. However, once entering a cancer cell via antibody mediated internalization, the linker can be easily broken to release the payload and kill the cancer cell. All three of these properties are key factors to enable the most efficient payload delivery and maximum ADC efficacy.
  • High linker solubility: Our linkers are hydrophilic, rendering them soluble in water-based solutions like blood. Improved solubility leads to decreased clumping, allowing the ADC to properly bind to cancerous cells without the need to further edit the antibody/payload structures.
  • Simple manufacturing: We can generate ADCs in one step using “off-the-shelf” antibodies that are native or engineered. The process is fast, cost-efficient and can be easily upscaled without the need for custom antibody synthesis.


Araris’ ADC technology allows for tailor-made manufacturing of safe and highly potent ADC candidates with an improved therapeutic index and the potential to make a clinically meaningful difference for patients with cancer.


Dr. Dragan Grabulovski

Dr. Dragan Grabulovski Acting CEO, Co-founder and Chairman

Dragan has been the Acting CEO of Araris Biotech since October 2023. He co-founded Araris and has been the chairman of the company’s board of directors since its inception. Before, he was a biotech consultant advising numerous venture capital firms, biotech companies and served as a start-up coach for ETH Zurich and Innosuisse. From 2007 to 2014 he was co-founder and CSO of Covagen, a Swiss biotech company acquired in 2014 by an affiliate of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. He received his Master’s degree and PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from ETH Zürich. 

Dr. Philipp Spycher

Dr. Philipp Spycher Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO)

As the inventor of the Araris ADC Technology, Philipp has a profound background in Bioconjugation and ADCs. He was the founding CEO since the inception of Araris in 2019 securing $40M in financing from Swiss, UK, US and Korean investors and $2.5M non-dilutive financing from the Swiss Accelerator Grant (5% funding rate). He positioned Araris to shift the paradigm in how to think about developing targeted cancer therapies and since October 2023, he transitioned to become its CSO. During his post-doctoral work at PSI, he introduced the novel approach using transglutaminases for antibody conjugation that led to the discovery of the Araris ADC Technology. He obtained his Master’s Degree and PhD from ETH Zurich at the interface of Material Science and Protein Engineering.

Dr. Isabella Attinger-Toller

Dr. Isabella Attinger-Toller Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Isabella holds a Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology from University of Basel and obtained a PhD in Tumorimmunology from University of Zurich (UZH). Before joining Araris, she served as Director Pharmacology at Covagen, a Swiss Biotech that was acquired in 2014 by Cilag GmbH International, an affiliate of the Janssen Pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson. She was in charge of the pharmacological characterization of various FynomAbs during pre-clinical development that entered clinical testing. With an experience of more than 13 years in biotech, she has been essential in developing the company and guiding the Araris R&D team to build the next generation of differentiated and highly efficacious but safe ADCs.  

Dr. Martin Behe

Dr. Martin Behe Co-founder

Martin Behe received his PhD in anorganic chemistry at the University of Basel. He worked at the University Hospitals in Göttingen, Marburg and Freiburg in Germany where he established a group for peptide-based radiopharmaceuticals and its production. Since 2011, Martin Behe leads the Pharmacology group at PSI, where the Araris Linker Technology took its first steps. He has an extensive background in peptide chemistry, peptide labelling and conjugation as well and critically contributed to development of radio-labelled compounds that are used in the clinic. 


Dr. Rakesh Dixit

Dr. Rakesh Dixit

Rakesh Dixit is an accomplished executive, inventor, and scientist with over 30 years of success with top biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Medimmune - AstraZeneca. Rakesh was selected by his biopharmaceutical peers as the 100 Most Inspiring People in the Pharmaceutical Industry by PharmaVOICE in 2015. From 2006 to 2019, Rakesh was a Global Vice President of the Biologics R&D at Medimmune - AstraZeneca, where he was a pivotal contributor to the approval of Imfinzi (anti-PD-L1 mAb) for the treatment of lung and bladder cancer; Fasenra (anti-IL-5R afucsolytated mAb) for asthma; Brodalumab (anti-IL-17) in collaboration with Amgen for Psoriasis and Moxetumomab pseudotox (anti-CD22-PEA immunotoxin) for hairy cell leukemia. Rakesh has unique expertise in the development of biologics (e.g., monoclonal antibodies, bispecific biologics, antibody-drug conjugates, fusion proteins, peptides, gene and cell therapies, etc.) and small-molecule biopharmaceuticals. His areas of expertise include discovery, early and late preclinical development, safety assessment, DMPK and translational sciences.

Dr. Ulf Grawunder

Dr. Ulf Grawunder

Ulf is co-founder, CEO and Board member of T-CURX, a Germany-based CAR-T development company. Previously, Ulf was founder, CEO and Board member of NBE-Therapeutics, a Swiss Biotech company, focused on the development of ADCs in oncology, which he sold to Boehringer Ingelheim, Germany, in 2021. Before that he had co-founded 4-Antibody, a Switzerland-Germany-based company, which was sold to U.S.-based Agenus in 2012. Although Ulf has built Biotech companies from the ground up for the last 20 years, he is an Immunologist by training with an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Immunology from University of Basel for work performed at the Basel Institute for Immunology, a triple-nobel prize awarded former research institute, endowed by Roche for over 20 years, but closed in 2001.

Ulf is also Managing Director of Viopas Venture Consulting and independent Board member of privately-owned Swiss NXI-Therapeutics, China-based public company WuXiXDC and NASDAQ-listed company Adagene. Ulf also holds a diploma in Technology Entrepreneurship from the Executive School of Management, Technology and Law of the University St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Dr. John Lambert

Dr. John Lambert

John Lambert joined ImmunoGen Inc. in 1987 and played an important role in translating the technology of ImmunoGen into antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) clinical development programs. These efforts ultimately led to Kadcyla®, one of the first ADCs that was approved by the FDA as well as many additional ADC programs that continue to be developed by ImmunoGen and its partners.  He is the author/co-author of more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific publications. In 2016, Dr. Lambert was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Prior to joining ImmunoGen, he served as Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Lambert holds a PhD in Biochemistry from University of Cambridge in England and completed his postdoctoral work at the University of California at Davis and Glasgow University in Scotland.

Professor Dr. Roger Schibli

Professor Dr. Roger Schibli Co-founder

Roger Schibli received his PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Basel, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Since 2010, Roger Schibli holds a full professorship at the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences (ETH Zurich) and heads the Center for Radiopharmaceutical Sciences ETH-PSI-USZ. Roger Schibli pioneered the use of transglutaminases for the site-specific modification of antibodies in his labs at PSI and ETH Zurich more than 10 years ago and is author of many key scientific publications in that area of research. He supports us with his in-dept knowledge about enzymatic modifications of antibodies as well as linker design which is core to the Araris Linker Technology. 

Dr. Jeff Sharman

Dr. Jeff Sharman

Jeff Sharman is a hematologist/oncologist who leads the hematologic malignancy clinical research program for US Oncology.  He has been engaged in drug development for lymphoid malignancies including multiple BCR signaling inhibitors, immunotherapies, and antibody drug conjugates He has served as global primary investigator on many trials and has over 60 publications focused on novel therapeutics.  He completed his fellowship at Stanford University where he was among the first to propose using BCR signaling antagonists for b cell malignancies and helped lead the initial studies of ibrutinib.  He completed his medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital – part of Harvard University.

Dr. Dominik Escher

Dr. Dominik Escher

Dominik Escher is a founding partner of Pureos Bioventures. He is also a co-founder and Executive Chairman of CDR-Life. Previously, he was a founder and CEO of ESBATech, which was acquired in 2009 by Alcon (Novartis) for USD 589 million. As a biotech entrepreneur, he raised USD 90 million for ESBATech to develop novel antibody fragments from discovery to clinical proof-of-concept, delivering multiple clinically successful products (e.g. Beovu). Dominik obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Zurich and also holds a Masters Degree in Education with specialization in Management and Organization from the ETH of Zurich.

Dr. Arnd Kaltofen

Dr. Arnd Kaltofen

As a Managing Partner of VI Partners Arnd Kaltofen is focusing on Healthcare investments. He has collected a long-standing experience in building and exiting ventures. He served on boards of companies such as Esbatech, Kuros Biosurgery, Activaero or Ganymed Pharmaceuticals. In his previous career he built a team dedicated to venture capital transactions in the healthcare industry for KPMG Corporate Finance. He gained his entrepreneurial experience in several medical device and digital health startups. As an MD he started his professional career as an anesthesiologist and in research. Arnd Kaltofen also holds an MBA as well as a Postgraduate Degree in Computer Sciences.

Dr. Dmitry Kuzmin

Dr. Dmitry Kuzmin

Dmitry ‘Dima’ Kuzmin MSc (Oxon) PhD MRSB MIoD is the co-founder and managing partner of 4BIO Capital, a London-based investment firm focused on advanced therapies and a pioneer of advanced therapies investments. Before founding 4BIO, he served in several academic roles with research interests spanning structural biology and rational design of ion channels, optogenetics, gene therapy of neurological and psychiatric diseases, brain-computer interfaces, and information processing in the brain. He serves or served in the past on several company boards, including Araris Biotech, Redpin Therapeutics, RetroSense Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan), and others.  

Dr. Michael Sidler

Dr. Michael Sidler

Michael Sidler has co-founded Redalpine Venture Partners in 2007 and acts as General Partner for the Redalpine funds. Before Redalpine, Michael was responsible for corporate investments and M&A at Prionics AG, a Diagnostics / Biotech company in Schlieren, Switzerland, where under his guidance several acquisitions have been completed. From 1998 to 2003, Michael was with The Boston Consulting Group in Zürich and Toronto as a Consultant and Project Leader in several different industries (e.g. eBanking, Insurance, Automotive etc.) and roles. Michael Sidler holds a PhD in Life Sciences from University of Zürich. He is a member of several organizations, juries and boards for the support of innovation and startups (Venturekick, Swiss Startup Finance) and leads the VC chapter of SECA.

Dr. Bernd Schlereth

Dr. Bernd Schlereth Chief Development Officer (CDO)

Bernd received his Master’s Degree from University of Surrey, Guildford, UK in applied toxicology and his PhD in Immunology from University of Würzburg (Germany). Prior to joining Araris, Bernd worked as Vice President Oncology Research at Molecular Partners AG. Before that he worked at Janssen/Covagen AG, Merck Serono as well as at Micromet. In these positions he was responsible for the Discovery, Pharmacology, Toxicology and DMPK activities in close collaboration with CMC, Clinical Development as well as Regulatory Affairs ensuring smooth and successful project transitions from research into early and late-stage clinical development. Bernd has in-depth experience in targeted cancer therapy and the development of novel immuno-oncology modalities (e.g. blinatumomab). 

Dr. Clive Stanway

Dr. Clive Stanway

In recent times Clive Stanway has chosen to become an independent cancer drug discovery and development advisor. He is a non-executive director for Atelerix Ltd, CytoSeek Ltd and Babraham Bioscience Technologies and serves on the scientific advisory boards of 4Bio Capital and ANGLE plc in addition to his duties for Araris. 

Clive was trained as a scientist in cell and molecular biology at Imperial College and Oxford University rising to junior faculty status.  He transitioned into cancer drug discovery and development firstly at Xenova and then Prolifix and subsequently at Cancer Research UK where he established and led a team operating to pharmaceutical company standards.  Over his career he has been involved in projects which have matured from discovery status into clinical development.  For many years, Clive was part of the executive team in the commercial arm of Cancer Research UK and during that time it grew to have an interest in 4 drugs on the market and multimillion pound revenues.  He was also an intellectual property contributor to many cancer therapeutic and diagnostic start-up companies and significant driver in the initiation and completion of various deals in the pharmaceutical sector including companies such as Celgene and FORMA Therapeutics.  

Dr. Nathan Tumey

Dr. Nathan Tumey

L. Nathan Tumey is an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Binghamton University.  He joined Binghamton University in 2017, following 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Between 2009 - 2017 he was a team leader for the ADC discovery efforts at Pfizer.  In this role, he led a group of bioconjugation and bioanalytical scientists that designed and synthesized antibody-drug conjugates for use in oncology applications. He received his PhD in chemistry from Duke University in 2001, under the supervision of Michael Pirrung. His research team at Binghamton University focuses on the application of antibody-drug conjugates and related technology for the treatment of auto-immune disorders and rare diseases. Additionally, his lab investigates bioconjugate stability, ADC linker design and new targeted drug-delivery modalities.

Dr. Filippo Mulinacci

Dr. Filippo Mulinacci Chief Business Officer (CBO)

Filippo holds a MSc in Chemistry from University of Turin in Italy, a PhD in Sciences from the School of Pharmacy of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and a MBA in Business Administration from St. Gallen University - HSG in Switzerland. Filippo initiated his research career in pharmaceutical science at Serono SA. Later, after his MBA, he moved into Business Development where he spent over 10 years before joining Araris. Filippo held various roles in BD&L in small and large organizations such as Roche, Basilea Pharmaceutica and Philogen. In these positions he was responsible for business development activities including in- and out-licensing of both technology platforms and pharmaceutical assets, business case preparation, NPV calculation, term sheet and contract negotiation, and alliance management. 

We are backed by a strong investor syndicate: Pureos Bioventures, 4BIO Capital, btov Partners, Redalpine, VI Partners and Schroder Adveq, Wille Finance, Institute for Follicular Lymphoma Innovation

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What's new

Ulf Grawunder, Ph.D appointed to the Araris SAB 14/06/24

We’ve appointed Ulf Grawunder, Ph.D. to our scientific advisory board. His experience in the ADC space will be instrumental as we continue to innovate our proprietary ADC technology and develop our pipeline of next-generation ADC therapies.

Araris Biotech AG announces research collaboration with Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd 08/11/23

Today we announced our research collaboration with Taiho Pharmaceutical Col, Ltd for the development of next-generation ADCs using our innovative linker-conjugation platform. 

Araris Biotech AG Initiates Leadership Transition to Advance Next Evolution of Growth in its Antibody-Drug Conjugate (ADC)-Pipeline 04/10/23

Today we announced a leadership transition to advance the next evolution of our ADC pipeline. Dragan Grabulovski, Ph.D. has been appointed acting chief executive officer and Philipp Spycher, Ph.D., will transition to chief scientific officer.

Araris Biotech AG Acquires ARS Pharmaceutical’s Nectin-4 Antibody 17/04/23

We’re excited to announce that we’ve acquired ARS Pharmaceuticals’ Nectin-4 antibody. The antibody will be used in the development of a differentiated Nectin-4 ADC, using our proprietary LinkerTechnology, as we broaden our ADC pipeline. 

Araris Biotech AG Announces Strategic Investment with Samsung Ventures 12/04/23

We’re pleased to announce Samsung Ventures has made a strategic investment in Araris. These proceeds will be used to further support the development and advancement of our antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) candidates.

Araris presenting two late-breaking poster abstracts at AACR 2023 14/03/23

Our CEO, Philipp Spycher, Ph.D. and CTO, Isabella Attinger-Toller, Ph.D. will be presenting two late-breaking abstracts at this year’s American Association for Cancer Research Meeting in Orlando, Florida. Be sure to stop by our posters on April 18 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET

Araris Biotech presents Nectin-4 data at PEGS Europe 2022 on Wednesday November 16th 15/11/22

Our Associate Director of ADC Chemistry, Romain Bertrand, Ph.D., will be presenting tomorrow at PEGSEurope in Barcelona. He’ll be presenting preclinical data on our Nectin-4 ADC developed using our proprietary LinkerTechnology. Learn more here:

Araris Biotech AG Presents Preclinical Data Highlighting Anti-CD79b ADC Program and Late-Breaking Data on Nectin-4 ADC at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2022 Annual Meeting 10/04/22

We’re pleased to announce we’re presenting preclinical data on our anti-CD79b ADC and late-breaking data on an anti-Nectin-4 ADC developed using our proprietary linker technology at this year’s American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference.

Araris Biotech AG to Present at 12th Annual World ADC London 2022 29/03/22

Visit us at 12th Annual World ADC London 2022:  Poster on "Broadening the therapeutic index of antibody-drug conjugates using Araris peptide linkers for site-specific bioconjugation,” will be given on March 30, 2022, at 2:15 p.m. GMT during the conference’s scientific poster session.

Araris is expanding its Scientific Advisory Board with Dr. Jeff Sharman and Dr. Clive Stanway 11/11/21

We’re excited to announce we’re expanding our Scientific Advisory Board with the appointment of Dr. Jeff Sharman and Dr. Clive Stanway. The two leaders in the field of cancer therapeutics will provide expert support and guidance as we continue preclinical and clinical development of our  Antibody Drug Conjugates. 

Araris ranks TOP11 at Swiss startup Award 2021 09/09/21

We are very pleased to announce that Araris again ranks among the TOP15 Swiss startups in 2021 after positions 13 in 2020 and 95 in 2019. This is again a great achievement for our company - thanks jury for voting for us! Thank you Araris Team for your hard work!

Araris Biotech shortlisted in top 5 of World ADC Awards 2021 in category "Best ADC Platform Technology" 30/08/21

The winners will be selected on October 12th 2021 during the World ADC Awards Ceremony. Thanks to our supporters for your vote!

Araris Listed among Top 15 Swiss Biotech Startups Making a Difference in Europe by Labbiotech.Eu 16/06/21

Really happy about being listed among so many great companies in Switzerland in 

Araris appoints Dr. Bernd Schlereth as Chief Development Officer! 01/04/21

We are very excited to announce that Araris Biotech AG has appointed Dr. Bernd Schlereth as Chief Development Officer. A warm welcome to the team, Bernd, we are very happy to have you on board!

MTG: a versatile tool for site-specific modification - Article 05/12/20

Very interesting article highlighting the versatility of microbial transglutaminase (MTG) and its use to generate site-specific ADCs

The Linker Matters....article by Philipp in Mednous 24/11/20

Read about the main issues of the first, second, and third generations of ADCs in the MedNous article below and how we at Araris Biotech AG challenge them.

Araris Biotech AG is excited to announce the completion of a CHF 15.2 Million Seed Financing Round 22/10/20

The new funds will be used to nominate a clinical candidate and advance Araris’ lead programs into preclinical and clinical development, as well as to support the development of a broad proprietary pipeline of ADC compounds.

The investment round is led by: Pureos Bioventures with new investors 4-BIO Capital and btov Partners and existing investors Redalpine, VI Partners and Schroder Adveq.

Araris ranks 13th at Swiss Startup Award 09/09/20

Araris ranks among the TOP15 Swiss startups in 2020.  This is a great achievement for our young company - thanks jury for voting for us! Rank 95 in 2019, Rank 13 in 2020. Thank you Araris Team for your hard work. 

Meet Philipp and our team at 'Meet Venture Leaders' 03/08/20

Fun insights about our CEO and the Araris Crew... 

Araris CEO pitches in front of US investors 29/06/20

Pitch session organized by the American Embassy. A great opportunity to present, thanks Venturelab and Ambassador McMullen for the organization. 

Araris chosen as one of the "Venture Leaders Life Sciences 2020" winners 22/04/20

We are very proud to be chosen among 60 high quality applicants and are looking forward to the experience and learing on the roadshow in Boston. 

Clinical-stage Transglutaminase company Zedira releases article on Araris Technology 20/02/20

Zedira published a high level summary on the core of the Araris Linker Technology.

Araris Biotech AG establishes Scientific Advisory Board 03/10/19

Araris Biotech AG announced today the appointment of Dr. Rakesh Dixit, Dr. John Lambert and Dr. L. Nathan Tumey as members of its Scientific Advisory Board.

Araris announces closing of seed financing round 20/08/19

Araris announces closing of CHF2.5M seed financing round with participation of Swiss investors Redalpine, Schroder Adveq and VI Partners.

Araris Biotech AG wins 130000 Venture Kick III support 24/06/19

The Venture Kick jury awards MOBBOT and Araris Biotech 130,000 francs each to accelerate the engineering startup and drug-discovery spin-off's speed-to-market. The Swiss startups’ innovations in material science and biotech will benefit the construction and pharmaceutical industries.

Araris Biotech AG incorporation 31/01/19

Araris Biotech AG announces its incorporation on January 31st 2019.

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