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CytomX scores deal with Amgen worth potential $1.5bn

Published on 04/10/17 at 10:48am

CytomX Therapeutics and Amgen have signed a deal that could be worth a potential $1.5 billion. The agreement will see the companies work together to develop a Probody T cell engaging bispecific against Epidermal Growth Factor receptor (EGFR).

EGFR is a target with oncology that is expressed in a number of different cancer types. CytomX has already conducted preclinical studies of varying versions of its EGFRxCD3 therapies – with the results showing tumour regressions and an “increased…therapeutic window for this high potential cancer target”.

Under the terms of the agreement between the two companies, they will work together to co-develop the therapies through to the clinic. CytomX will be responsible for the early develop, with Amgen taking over the project should it be successful in early trials.

Amgen will pay CytomX $40 million up front, whilst also purchasing $20 million of CytomX stock. In this particular therapy area, CytomX will potentially receive up to $455 million in further milestones payment, depending on developmental, regulatory and commercialisation progress.

Beyond this, Amgen has dibs on a further three undisclosed targets for which it could pay up to $950 million, again depending on milestones reached.

In an interesting twist to the deal, CytomX will also gain access to one of Amgen’s preclinical T cell engaging bispecific programs.

“Probody-based T cell engaging bispecific antibodies offer significant potential in treating cancers by employing localized therapeutic activity within tumour tissue,” said Sean McCarthy, President and Chief Executive Officer of CytomX Therapeutics. “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's ability to design potent new therapies that exploit unique conditions in the tumour microenvironment. Development of Probody-based T cell engaging bispecifics further validates the broad applicability of the Probody platform in addressing unmet needs in oncology.”

For CytomX it represents a growing interest in the work the biotech is doing, after it had previously signed a potential $3.6 billion deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb back in March of this year. The price of shares in CytomX reflecting this growing confidence, rocketing upwards by 41% on the announcement.

Ben Hargreaves

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