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Biopharma Co. Hopes To Turn US$30M Into US$2B
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CytomX Therapeutics Inc. shares traded 32% higher after the company reported it has formed a strategic research collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to develop next-generation bispecific immunotherapies to treat multiple cancer tumor types.

Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company CytomX Therapeutics Inc. (CTMX:NASDAQ), which is focused on inventing and developing highly potent and less toxic anti-cancer medications, announced it has entered into a strategic collaboration and licensing partnership with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN:NASDAQ) to develop conditionally-activated bispecific therapeutics for use in treating cancer.

Working together utilizing CytomX's Probody® therapeutic platform and Regeneron's Veloci-Bi® bispecific antibody development platform, the two firms are aiming to create and develop next-generation bispecific immunotherapies to treat multiple types of cancerous tumors.

The report indicated that by combining CytomX's biologic masking strategies with Regeneron's bispecifics, the novel investigational therapies would remain inactive until they enter and are released by proteases in the tumor microenvironment.

The companies noted that "the technology has the potential to widen the therapeutic window and help minimize off-target effects for these next-generation T-cell engaging therapies, potentially addressing tumor types that have historically been unresponsive to immunotherapy."

CytomX Therapeutics' CEO and Chairman Sean McCarthy, D. Phil. remarked, "CytomX has pioneered the field of conditionally-activated therapeutics through high quality and differentiated science, leading to broad experience in biologic masking strategies and a deep understanding of the protease tumor microenvironment . . . We are thrilled that our scientific expertise has attracted Regeneron as our newest collaborator, and we look forward to working closely together to further optimize T-cell engager strategies and push the boundaries of cancer immunotherapy to new levels."

"This collaboration will enable Regeneron and CytomX to combine our collective oncology expertise with two premier platforms – Probody and Veloci-Bi – to develop novel immunotherapies and research their potential to transform patient lives," Dr. Lin added.

Regeneron's SVP of Immuno-oncology and Head of Bispecifics, John Lin, M.D., Ph.D. commented, "At Regeneron, we're focused on developing a paradigm-changing portfolio of oncology medicines for patients by combining a deep understanding of cancer biology with cutting-edge technologies."

"This collaboration will enable Regeneron and CytomX to combine our collective oncology expertise with two premier platforms – Probody and Veloci-Bi – to develop novel immunotherapies and research their potential to transform patient lives," Dr. Lin added.

Under the terms of the agreement, Regeneron has agreed to pay CytomX an upfront payment in the amount of US$30 million. The agreement provides for several additional payment incentives based upon the achievement of certain specified research, development, regulatory and sales-based milestones. If successful, these development and commercial advancement incentives are worth up to a total of US$2 billion.

The agreement calls for the two firms to collaborate on the discovery, identification, validation, and selection of prospective bispecific antibodies. Regeneron is tasked with funding all preclinical, clinical, and commercialization activities. In addition to the upfront payment and development milestone payments, CytomX will also be eligible to receive tiered net sales royalties from all future global sales.

CytomX Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharma firm based in South San Francisco, Calif., that is engaged in efforts to revolutionize the way cancer is treated. The company utilizes its Probody® technology development platform to develop more potent yet less toxic anti-cancer medications. CytomX has a total of seven therapeutic candidates in its development pipeline, of which four are presently being evaluated in Phase 2 trials. The firm's investigative portfolio spans a wide range of treatment modalities, including antibody-drug conjugates, immune modulators, and T-cell-engaging bispecific antibodies.

Regeneron is a leading biotech company headquartered in Tarrytown, N.Y., and has a market cap of about US$80.1 billion. The firm is engaged in all phases of drug development, from invention and development thru marketing and commercialization. The company has nine FDA-approved treatments and has numerous other product candidates in its pipeline. Regeneron's approved medicines and those in development are designed to for use in patients with allergic, cardiovascular, eye, infectious, inflammatory, metabolic, and rare diseases and to treat cancer, pain, and hematologic conditions and rare diseases.

CytomX Therapeutics started the day with a market cap of around US$80.0 million with approximately 66.1 million shares outstanding. CTMX shares opened 23% higher today at US$1.49 (+US$0.28, +23.14%) over yesterday's US$1.21 closing price. The stock traded today between US$1.42 and US$1.68 per share and closed for trading at US$1.60 (+US$0.39, +32.23%).

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