Bristol-Myers Squibb announced two separate agreements related to its immuno-oncology research—a collaboration with CytomX to develop probodies and a clinical-trial collaboration with Incyte to evaluate a combination regimen of two inhibitors. The worldwide research collaboration and license agreement between Bristol-Myers Squibb and CytomX Therapeutics aims to discover, develop, and commercialize novel therapies against multiple immuno-oncology targets using CytomX's proprietary Probody Platform of monoclonal antibodies that remain inert in healthy tissue but are activated specifically in the cancer microenvironment.
"Immuno-oncology offers a tremendous opportunity to change how cancer is treated," said Francis Cuss, executive vice-president and chief scientific officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb, in a press release. 'The Probody Platform has the potential to broaden discovery of innovative therapies."
Under the terms of the agreement, CytomX will grant Bristol-Myers Squibb 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.
A clinical-trial collaboration between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Incyte will evaluate the safety, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of a combination regimen of Bristol-Myers Squibb's investigational PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab, and Incyte's oral indoleamine dioxygenase-1 (IDO1) inhibitor, INCB24360, in a Phase I/II study. Multiple tumor types will be explored in the study, which could potentially include melanoma, non-small cell lung, ovarian, colorectal, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. The study, which is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2014, will be co-funded by the companies and conducted by Incyte.
Nivolumab and INCB24360 are part of a new class of cancer treatments known as immunotherapies that are designed to harness the body's own immune system in fighting cancer. Nivolumab and INCB24360 target distinct regulatory components of the immune system, and there is preclinical evidence suggesting that the combination of these two agents may lead to an enhanced anti-tumor immune response compared to either agent alone, according to the press release.
"The field of immunotherapy has the potential to transform the treatment of many cancers and significantly improve patient outcomes," stated Hervé Hoppenot, president and CEO of Incyte, in the press release. "Given the synergistic activity we have seen with our IDO1 inhibitor when combined with checkpoint inhibitors in preclinical models, and based on our emerging clinical data, we look forward to collaborating with Bristol-Myers Squibb to explore this combination across a wide range of tumor types."
Source: Bristol-Myers Squibb