Probody technology reportedly combines benefits of mAbs with tissue selectivity.

CytomX Therapeutics raised $30 million in a Series B financing round led by Third Rock Ventures, and with investment from the Roche Venture Fund. The firm says it aims to use the new funds to progress its enzyme-activated antibody pipeline, expand its personnel base, and move into the Bay Area by the end of 2010.

CytomX was established in 2008 to commercialize technology developed at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). The platform centers on the design of protease-activated antibody therapeutics termed Probodies™, which CytomX claims combine the specificity of monoclonal antibodies with a second level of tissue selectivity that is driven by the action of endogenous disease enzymes. The firm has two oncology targets undergoing preclinical evaluation.

“There exists a significant opportunity for the next generation of antibody-development strategies,” points out Fred Gluck, CytomX board chairmain. “Using proprietary drug discovery technologies, CytomX has taken a novel approach to the discovery and development of innovative proteolytically activated therapies. By focusing on antibodies that are validated as successful biologics, we anticipate rapid introduction of a new class of optimally designed antibody therapies, which will help address critical medical needs.”

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