OncoImmune said today it agreed to license its preclinical anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibody ONC-392 to Pfizer, in a deal that could generate up to $250 million in upfront and milestone payments for OncoImmune.

Under the companies’ exclusive option and license agreement, Pfizer agreed to evaluate ONC-392 until an undisclosed agreed-upon time, then determine whether it will exercise its option to exclusively license ONC-392 and any other OncoImmune anti-CTLA4 antibodies.

Should Pfizer exercise its option, the pharma giant would oversee all development and potential commercialization of the program. In return, Pfizer would pay OncoImmune potential developmental and commercial milestone payments as well as royalties, tiered from mid-single up to low-double digits, on sales of any potential resulting products.

Identified using OncoImmune’s proprietary in vivo screening drug selection models, ONC-392 is designed to help reduce toxicities associated with harnessing the immune system to fight cancer, while retaining potent antitumor immunity, the company said.

The deal is also Pfizer’s latest effort to expand its immuno-oncology portfolio—an expansion reflected most recently last month, when the company said it would acquire Medivation for $14 billion.

Soon after the deal was announced, Pfizer discussed how Medivation’s offerings could help it build an I/O-focused portfolio combining immunotherapies with other cancer candidates usable in I/O combinations. Medivation markets the blockbuster prostate cancer drug Xtandi® (enzalutamide), and its pipeline includes the Phase III talazoparib (MDV3800), and pidilizumab (MDV9300), an antibody with immune-mediated antitumor effects licensed from CureTech.

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