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Biotechnology company CytomX Therapeutics has signed a strategic agreement with Pfizer for the development and commercialisation of multiple Probody drug conjugates (PDCs) in the field of oncology.

The collaboration will result in a highly differentiated approach to developing safe and effective antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) using CytomX’s novel Probody platform.

As per the agreement, Pfizer will make approximately $25m in upfront, research reimbursement and preclinical milestone payments, $610m in regulatory and sales milestones, in addition to tiered royalties on sales.

Pfizer oncology research unit senior vice president and chief scientific officer Robert Abraham said; "Pfizer’s investment in CytomX’s emerging Probody platform is an important component of our overall strategic focus to advancing the next generation of ADCs and reflects the disruptive potential of this approach."

The deal grants exclusive rights to Pfizer to pursue development and commercialisation of select PDCs following preclinical research, which will be jointly carried out by the companies.

Designed to integrate masked Probodies, which remain non-reactive in the healthy tissues but active in the tumour microenvironment, with the cytotoxic agents, PDCs facilitate in exploring new target areas in the growing therapeutic field.

CytomX chief executive officer Dr Sean McCarthy said the collaboration emphasises on the potential of the company’s probody Platform to enable new generations of empowered antibodies.

"Our innovative science is driving the development of groundbreaking Probodies and PDCs that have already demonstrated preclinical activity when selectively activated within the tumor microenvironment," McCarthy said.

"We look forward to collaborating with Pfizer with the aim of researching and developing highly differentiated PDC products that have the potential to change the way cancer is treated."

Image: Pfizer is investing in CytomX’s emerging Probody Platform. Photo: Courtesy of Jim Henderson.