Pfizer today announced deals to expand its reach in two separate research areas.
Pfizer tapped Spark Therapeutics to help expand its rare disease research and development activities. The company will collaborate with Spark to develop SPK-FIX, a program incorporating a bio-engineered AAV vector for the potential treatment of hemophilia B.
Launched a little over a year ago, Spark was recently awarded FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for its lead product candidate SPK-RPE65. The late-stage gene therapy company appears to be well positioned to assist Pfizer in expanding activities in this space, especially considering the appointment of gene therapy pioneer Katherine A. High, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as president and CSO in September.
Spark will maintain responsibility for clinical development through Phase I/II studies—expected to begin early next year—while Pfizer will manage pivotal studies, regulatory approvals, and potential global commercialization of the product. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The pharma giant also entered a collaboration with iTeos Therapeutics for discovery and development of cancer immunosuppression targets.
Pfizer is licensing rights to iTeos' preclinical compounds targeting Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1) and Tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO2). Pfizer will take charge of the development and commercialization of IDO1 and TDO2 drug candidates. Additionally, the parties will work together to discover and validate new targets that play key roles in the ability of tumors to evade immune responses. These new targets will be shared by iTeos and Pfizer for further independent or collaborative development, the companies said.
iTeos will receive an up-front payment of €24 million (about $30 million), plus an equity investment, licensing fees, and collaborative funding from Pfizer. The company will be eligible to earn potential milestone payments based on the achievement of specific development, regulatory, and commercial milestones across the IDO1 and TDO2 programs, in addition to royalties on sales. iTeos could also earn additional milestone and royalty payments for any of the new target programs that are advanced by Pfizer.