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Amgen pens CytomX I-O pact with major biobucks promise

October 5, 2017
Life sciences

Just a few months after Fierce 15 winner CytomX signed a major $3.6 billion biobucks deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb, the biotech is at it again, this time with Amgen.

In its latest pact, Amgen will pay $40 million upfront and buy $20 million worth of CytomX’s stock as the pair eye work in the hot-ticket area of immuno-oncology.

Under the research deal, the companies will co-develop a CytomX Probody T-cell engaging bispecific against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a cancer target expressed in many types of the disease.

The nitty-gritty of the early-stage deal sees the two work together on the Probody T-cell engaging bispecific against EGFRxCD3, although CytomX will take the lead on early development. Amgen will lead later development and the sales side, should it gain approval, with “global late-stage development costs shared between the two companies.”

Probody therapeutics are designed to take advantage of conditions in the tumor microenvironment to enhance the tumor-targeting features of an antibody, all the while reducing its impact on healthy tissues, and thus adverse events.

On the biobucks side, CytomX can look forward to $455 million for the EGFR program, and while Amgen will lead global sales activities, CytomX can opt into a profit share in the U.S. and receive tiered, double-digit royalties on net product sales outside of the U.S.

And there’s more: Amgen also gets exclusive worldwide rights to develop and sell up to three additional but as-yet-undisclosed targets. Should Amgen go for all three, CytomX could get up to $950 million in additional upfront and milestone payments, as well as royalties.

CytomX, a 2013 Fierce 15 honoree, also gets its hands on the rights from Amgen to an undisclosed preclinical T-cell engaging bispecific program.

“Our collaboration with CytomX leverages Amgen’s development leadership in bispecifics and expands our immuno-oncology capabilities with an additional and complementary bispecific technology,” said Sean Harper, M.D., EVP of R&D at Amgen. “EGFR is a particularly compelling target on which to employ the CytomX Probody platform given its potential to localize activity within tumors while limiting potential toxicity.”

Sean McCarthy, D.Phil., president and CEO of CytomX Therapeutics, added: “Through this collaboration, we are positioned to combine Amgen’s industry-leading expertise in leveraging bispecifics to activate a patient’s immune-system with CytomX’ ability to design potent new therapies that exploit unique conditions in the tumor microenvironment.”

It’s been a good year for CytomX, and this Amgen pact comes after it signed a collab with partner BMS for $200 million upfront, as well as research funding, with total biobucks potentially worth an eye-watering $3.6 billion in total (although, as always, this would require everything going exactly to plan).

And also today, Amgen announced it has become a new partner in the latest funding round for German T-cell specialist Immatics, which has just raised $58 million (€49 million) to push its cancer immunotherapies deeper into the clinic.

By Ben Adams

Source: Fierce Biotech

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