NEW YORK and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) and CytomX Therapeutics, Inc. today announced the companies have signed a worldwide research collaboration and license agreement to discover, develop and commercialize novel therapies against multiple immuno-oncology targets using CytomX’s proprietary Probody™ Platform.
Probodies are monoclonal antibodies that are selectively activated within the cancer microenvironment, focusing the activity of therapeutic antibodies on tumors and sparing healthy tissue. The unique selectivity of Probodies expands the therapeutic window for both validated and novel targets, and has the potential to create multiple new classes of safer and more effective therapies.
“Immuno-oncology offers a tremendous opportunity to change how cancer is treated, and Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to advancing our immuno-oncology drug research and development for patients living with the disease,” said Francis Cuss, executive vice president and chief scientific officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “The Probody Platform has the potential to broaden discovery of innovative therapies, and the collaboration with CytomX reflects our continued leadership in immuno-oncology.”
Under the terms of the agreement, CytomX will grant BMS exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Probodies for up to four oncology targets including CTLA-4, a clinically validated immune inhibitory checkpoint receptor. Bristol-Myers Squibb will have certain additional rights to substitute up to two collaboration targets. Bristol-Myers Squibb will make an upfront payment of $50 million to CytomX and provide research funding over the course of the research term. CytomX will also be eligible to receive additional preclinical payments and up to $298 million in future development, regulatory and sales milestone payments for each collaboration target, as well as tiered mid-single-digit rising to low-double-digit royalty payments on net sales of each product commercialized by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
“We are thrilled to announce our first cancer immunotherapy collaboration with an unequivocal leader in this field,” said Sean McCarthy, Ph.D., chief executive officer of CytomX. “This strategic alliance with Bristol-Myers Squibb demonstrates that our innovative Probody Platform has the potential to enable novel therapies in this transformational area of cancer research and development. This collaboration, together with our recently announced partnerships in the Probody Drug Conjugate space, illustrates the breadth of Probody technology and how we aim to make a difference in the lives of patients. We look forward to collaborating with Bristol-Myers Squibb to advance highly differentiated Probody therapeutics into development.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.
CytomX Therapeutics, the Probody therapeutics company, is developing the next generation of antibody therapies. Probodies are masked antibodies that remain inert in healthy tissue but are activated specifically in the disease microenvironment. The Probody approach is designed to blunt systemic toxicities associated with antibodies and expand the therapeutic window of these drugs, unlocking new therapeutic targets. The company is initially focusing this innovative platform to discover and develop new immunotherapy and antibody drug conjugate therapies to treat areas of major unmet medical need in oncology. CytomX has attracted multiple strategic collaborations with industry-leading pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer Inc. and ImmunoGen as well as Bristol-Myers Squibb. CytomX is led by a seasoned management team and is financed by leading life science investors, including Third Rock Ventures, Canaan Partners and the Roche Venture Fund.