Astellas to Collaborate with CytomX to Develop T-Cell Therapies for Cancer Treatment

March 27, 2020

The companies will use CytomX’s Probody therapeutic technology platform and its proprietary bispecific formats and CD3 modules.

Astellas and CytomX Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company located in San Francisco, CA, announced on March 23, 2020 that they have entered into an $80 million strategic collaboration agreement for the discovery, research, development, and commercialization of novel T-cell engaging bispecific antibodies targeting CD3 and tumor cell surface antigens for the treatment of cancer. The companies will use CytomX’s Probody therapeutic technology platform and its proprietary bispecific formats and CD3 modules.

Through the agreement, Astellas will make an upfront cash payment of $80 million to CytomX and will lead and fund preclinical and clinical development and commercialization activities, while CytomX leads research and discovery activities, up to clinical candidate selection, funded by Astellas, according to an Astellas press release. Additionally, CytomX will be able to receive future preclinical, clinical, and commercial milestones of over $1.6 billion, along with tiered royalties on global net sales that range from high-single digits to mid-teens.

Probody therapeutics work to bind to tumors and reduce binding to healthy tissue, reducing toxicities and creating safer, more effective therapies, the press release said. Probody T-cell engaging bispecifics can direct cytotoxic T-cells to tumor microenvironments, which leads to cell-mediated anti-cancer activity. 

“This collaboration with Astellas leverages CytomX’s deep expertise in targeting multiple antibody modalities to the tumor microenvironment,” said Sean McCarthy, president, CEO, and chairman of CytomX, in the press release. “We are excited about the use of our technology to assist Astellas in unlocking the potential of T-cell engaging bispecifics in the treatment of solid tumors, building on the growing proof of concept we have established for our platform.”

“At Astellas, immuno-oncology is a primary focus of our research and development strategy, and we are working on the development of next-generation cancer immuno-therapy using new modalities/technologies,” added Naoki Okamura, representative director corporate executive vice president, chief strategy officer and chief financial officer, Astellas, in the press release. “We look forward to the collaboration with CytomX, which will enable us to leverage both companies capabilities and expand our next-generation immuno-oncology therapeutic pipeline as we continue to dedicate our efforts to deliver innovative treatments for diseases with high unmet medical needs.”

Source: Astellas