Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is paying CytomX Therapeutics $200 million upfront to add up to eight new candidates to their existing Probody™ therapeutics collaboration.  CytomX could potentially receive another $448 in development, regulatory, and sales milestones for each collaboration target, plus tiered royalites on future product sales by BMS.

BMS and CytomX established their potentially $1.2 billion Probody cancer therapeutics collaboration in 2014. The original agreement was centered on four oncology targets selected by BMS. BMS has progressed a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4( CTLA-4) Probody therapeutic to IND-enabling studies and the other three programs are at the lead discovery and optimization stage.

“CytomX’s Probody platform has enhanced our discovery research as we seek to direct the therapeutic effects of immunotherapy in a more targeted approach against tumors,” said Carl Decicco, Ph.D., head of discovery at BMS.  “We look forward to working more extensively with CytomX on this innovative and potentially disruptive approach in oncology as well as other disease areas.”

“This expanded collaboration with BMS gives CytomX the opportunity to further the reach of our potentially transformational Probody technology and provides us with additional financial and strategic flexibility to build our company,” added Sean McCarthy, D.Phil, CytomX president and CEO.  “With CX-072 in Phase I/II, and CX-2009 approaching clinical studies, our broad wholly owned pipeline is poised for initial proof of concept as we aim to reinvent therapeutic antibodies.”

CytomX is exploiting its Probody platform to develop a pipeline of antibody-based immunotherapeutics, including antibody drug conjugates, T-cell engaging bispecific antibodies, and chimeric antigen receptor–natural killer (CAR-NK) therapies. The firm claims its Probody candidates are selectively activated in the tumor microenvironment to localize therapeutic effects to the tumor and spare healthy tissue.

Lead candidate CX-072 is a programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1)-targeting Probody therapeutic, currently undergoing Phase I/II evaluation. The PROCLAIM study, evaluating CX-072 as monotherapy and in combination with Yervoy® (ipilimumab) or Zelboraf® (vemurafenib) in patients with various tumor types, was initiated last month. CytomX says it projects filing an IND for CX-2009, a Probody drug conjugate targeting the tumor antigen CD166, during the first half of 2017.

CytomX has additional partnerships with AbbVie, Pfizer, ImmunoGen, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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