CytomX Therapeutics said today it will receive a $10 million milestone payment from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) following its selection of a third target in the companies’ strategic oncology collaboration.
BMS is using CytomX’s Probody™ drug discovery platform to find, develop, and commercialize new immunotherapies against multiple cancer immunotherapy targets. The collaboration, launched in May 2014, could net CytomX more than $1.2 billion plus royalties.
In return, CytomX granted BMS exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Probody therapeutics for up to four oncology targets, including the immune inhibitory checkpoint receptor CTLA-4.
“Our collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb has progressed very well, and we are pleased to expand our collaborative work,” CytomX president and CEO Sean McCarthy, D.Phil., said in a statement.
Drug candidates developed with Probody are designed to be active in the tumor while sparing healthy tissue. According to CytomX, investigational Probody therapeutics directed against validated and novel targets have been shown in preclinical studies to enable effectiveness against with enhanced safety compared with traditional antibody-based therapies.
The furthest along of CytomX’s Probody candidates is CX-072, which targets PD-L1 and is being developed by the company on its own. CX-072 is in IND-enabling stage, with CytomX expecting to file an IND for the candidate in the second half of this year.
BMS paid CytomX $50 million up front upon launch of the collaboration, and agreed to provide research funding over the course of the research term. The pharma giant also agreed to pay CytomX upon selection of the third and fourth targets, on top of additional preclinical payments; up to $298 million in payments tied to achieving development, regulatory and sales milestones; and tiered mid-single-digit rising to low-double-digit royalty payments on net sales of each product commercialized by BMS.
Immuno-oncology and oncology are two of BMS’ eight areas of R&D focus; the other six are cardiovascular, fibrotic diseases, genetically defined diseases, immunoscience, virology, and metabolics. In metabolics, BMS focuses on developing early-stage candidates, with later-stage investigational drugs transitioned to AstraZeneca.
BMS is among multiple partners with which CytomX has launched collaborations; others include Pfizer, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and ImmunoGen.