Bristol-Myers Squibb has formed two separate collaboration agreements. BMS and CytomX Therapeutics are collaborating on novel therapies against multiple immuno-oncology targets using CytomX’s proprietary Probody Platform. BMS and Incyte, a Wilmington, Del.-based biopharmaceutical company, have established a clinical trial collaboration to evaluate the safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy of a combination regimen of BMS’ investigational PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab and Incyte’s oral indoleamine dioxygenase-1 (IDO1) inhibitor INCB24360, in a phase I/II study.
CytomX focuses on Probodies, monoclonal antibodies that are selectively activated within the cancer microenvironment, focusing the activity of therapeutic antibodies to tumors and sparing healthy tissue. The unique selectivity of Probodies expands the therapeutic window for both validated and novel targets, and has the potential to create multiple new classes of safer and more effective therapies.
“Immuno-oncology offers a tremendous opportunity to change how cancer is treated,” said Francis Cuss, MB BChir, FRCP, executive vice president and chief scientific officer, BMS. “The Probody Platform has the potential to broaden discovery of innovative therapies.”
CytomX will grant BMS exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Probodies for up to four oncology targets including CTLA-4, a clinically validated immune inhibitory checkpoint receptor. BMS will have certain additional rights to substitute up to two collaboration targets. BMS will make an upfront payment of $50 million to CytomX and provide research funding. CytomX also will 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 royalties on net sales of each product.
In the phase I/II study collaboration between BMS and Incyte, multiple tumor types will be explored, 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 two drugs, 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.
The study, which is expected to begin in the fourth quarter, will be co-funded by the companies and conducted by Incyte. Financial details have not been disclosed.