Astellas Pharma has collaborated with Ambrx for the discovery and development of next-generation antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) for oncology.
Ambrx will use its site-specific conjugation technology in addition to proprietary linkers and payloads in the production of optimised ADCs, which will facilitate targeted delivery of drugs to the intentional tissue.
Astellas will develop and commercialise ADCs for oncology across the world.
Agensys, an affiliate of Astellas, site head and senior vice president David Stover said it is looking forward to expand its capabilities in the oncology area.
"Ambrx offers a novel approach to allow creation of site-specific and highly stable conjugations that have the potential to further optimise drug delivery to tumour cells," Stover added.
The ADCs developed by Ambrx established high potency and a wide range of therapeutic index compared to ADCs created by means of conventional non-specific conjugation in the preclinical setting.
Under the deal, Astellas will make an upfront payment of $15m in addition to $285m on possible research, development, regulatory and sales-based milestones for oncology ADCs targets.
A part of these milestones, along with net sales-based royalties, rely on successful commercialisation of products resulting from the partnership.
Further terms of the deal were not revealed.
Ambrx chief executive officer Lawson Macartney said, "We look forward to developing these therapeutics while also advancing our broad pipeline of partnered and wholly owned therapeutic candidates with best-in-class conjugation."