Pfizer, CytomX unite in strategic oncology collaboration

The agreement is focused on the development and commercialization of Probody Drug Conjugates

Kelsey Kaustinen
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SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO—Biotechnology company CytomXTherapeutics, Inc. and Pfizer Inc. have begun a global strategic collaborationfor the development and commercialization of multiple Probody-Drug Conjugates(PDCs). 
Per the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will gain exclusiverights for the development and commercialization of select PDCs. CytomX andPfizer will collaborate on the preclinical research, and Pfizer will beresponsible for developing and potentially commercializing any chosen PDCs. Forits part, CytomX is eligible to receive up to approximately $25 million inupfront, research reimbursement and preclinical milestone payments,approximately $610 million in regulatory and sales milestone payments andtiered double-digit royalties on potential future sales.
"This partnership is a great example of how Pfizer isseeking to innovate new capabilities in cutting-edge science and technologyplatforms with the aim of delivering safer, more effective cancer medicines topatients," Robert T. Abraham, senior vice president and chief scientificofficer of Pfizer's Oncology Research Unit, said in a press release. "Pfizer'sinvestment in CytomX's emerging Probody Platform is an important component ofour overall strategic focus to advancing the next generation of ADCs andreflects the disruptive potential of this approach."
CytomX's Probodies are "fully recombinant, masked antibodiesthat remain inert in healthy tissue but are activated specifically in thedisease microenvironment," the company notes on its website. To achieve this,"Probodies leverage dysregulated protease activity, a hallmark of many diseasestates, to locally activate in the disease tissue." CytomX's proprietaryProbody Platform provides a highly differentiated approach for the developmentof safer and more effective drugs, ensuring that Probodies bind only withantigens in diseased tissue by inhibiting their ability to bind with healthytissue.
"Combining our novel Probody Platform with Pfizer's broadcapabilities in ADCs marks an important milestone for CytomX and underscoresthe potential of our Probody Platform to enable new generations of empoweredantibodies," Sean McCarthy, D.Phil., CytomX's CEO, commented in a statement."Our innovative science is driving the development of groundbreaking Probodiesand PDCs that have already demonstrated preclinical activity when selectivelyactivated within the tumor microenvironment. We look forward to collaboratingwith Pfizer with the aim of researching and developing highly differentiatedPDC products that have the potential to change the way cancer is treated."
No details were released as to the specific cancer targetsthat CytomX and Pfizer might be considering, but CytomX currently has severalproducts under development in its pipeline in oncology and inflammation. Itsmost developed oncology product candidate, CTX-023, targets the EpidermalGrowth Factor Receptor (EGFR), as EGFR represents a leading prime target inseveral kinds of small tumors that lack for approved antibody therapeutics,such as non-small cell lung cancer.

Kelsey Kaustinen

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