Pfizer will team up with BioAtla to develop and commercialize a new class of antibody therapeutics against cancer based on BioAtla's Conditionally Active Biologic (CAB) platform and Pfizer's antibody drug conjugate (ADC) payloads, BioAtla said today.

The collaboration could generate more than $1 billion for BioAtla in payments and royalties.

Under their agreement, BioAtla and Pfizer agreed to develop several CAB-ADC antibodies by licensing the other's respective technology. Such antibodies actively binding to antigens expressed on tumor tissue-resident cancer cells, but not to the same antigens expressed on normal cells in nondiseased tissues, thus aiming to address the limitations of current ADC antibody technology.

Pfizer and BioAtla reason that if the approach is successful, it would allow the preferential targeting of tumor tissues by ADCs, thereby increasing the efficacy-safety ratios of CAB-ADCs compared with their conventional counterparts.

The use of CAB antibodies as payload delivery vehicles could dramatically increase the number of tumor-associated antigens that are addressable with ADC technology, the companies also said. BioAtla's protein discovery, evolution, screening, and expression technologies can generate CAB proteins as monoclonal antibodies, enzymes, and other proteins designed with functions dependent on changes in microphysiological conditions.

As part of the deal, Pfizer also gained an exclusive option to develop and commercialize BioAtla CAB antibodies that target the human immuno-oncology target CTLA4. BioAtla's technology is designed to allow for selective targeting of CTLA4 expressed on immune cells localized in the tumor microenvironment.

BioAtla and Pfizer are both eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties based on individual CAB-ADC antibody candidates developed and commercialized by the other partner. Including the CTLA4 option and license, Pfizer has agreed to pay BioAtla up to more than $1 billion in upfront money and regulatory and sales milestone payments—plus tiered marginal royalties reaching double digits on potential future product sales.

“CAB-ADC antibodies and CAB immune checkpoint inhibitors such as those targeting CTLA-4 can potentially improve current therapies and enable combination immuno-oncology treatments for many cancers,” Jay M. Short, Ph.D., BioAtla’s co-founder, president, CEO, and chairman of the board, said in a statement.

BioAtla is a developer of novel monoclonal antibody and other protein therapeutic products with operations in San Diego and Beijing.

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