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Pfizer ships out 2 cancer ADCs alongside its tech platform to Pyxis Oncology, and its familiar CEO

Date:2021-3-21 23:29:42Browse volume:Source of articles:fiercebiotech

The hype around antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) has  been growing in recent years after big bucks deals and approvals from  the likes of AstraZeneca/Daiichi and Immunomedics putting a spotlight on  the approach.

Pfizer building  

Now, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech Pyxis  Oncology is hoping to get in on the action, and it’s tapping one of the  world’s biggest pharma companies for that.

In the new deal,  financials of which were not made public, Pfizer will out-license two  ADC candidates, to be known as PYX-201 and PYX-203, while also giving  Pyxis a license for its ADC technology platform, including various  payload classes, linker technology and site-specific conjugation  techniques “for the future development of additional ADCs.”

While there were no details on actual figures, as  part of the deal Pfizer gets an upfront payment and equity in Pyxis, and  can also nab development and sales-based milestone payments, as well as  tiered royalties on potential sales.

The Big Pharma will also funnel in an equity  investment made by its CV arm, Pfizer Ventures. Again, however, they  were no figures released.  

“This collaboration represents successful execution  of our overarching corporate strategy to marry in-house organic growth  with strategic in-licensing and partnerships to develop our multi-asset  multi-platform portfolio,” said Lara Sullivan, M.D., CEO of Pyxis.

“We look forward to advancing these candidates to  the clinic and ultimately achieving the company’s vision to bring new  treatment options to patients with difficult-to-treat cancer.”

Sullivan is no stranger to Pfizer, having spent  years as a research at the Big Pharma, before becoming president of  Pfizer’s 2017 spinout company SpringWorks. She later left and in 2019,  came in to run Pyxis. 

The first of the two meds, PYX-201, is a  first-in-class non-internalizing ADC that targets a tumor-restricted  antigen that is overexpressed in several solid tumor types to  selectively kill tumor cells while boosting an anti-cancer immune  response.

PYX-203, meanwhile, is an ADC that targets an  antigen expressed in certain blood cancers. PYX-203 utilizes a  DNA-damaging agent designed to lower the risk of drug resistance and  disease relapse.

Pfizer already markets its own ADC, Besponsa  (inotuzumab ozogamicin) a CD22-directed ADC for patients with relapsed  or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which  came out of a partnership with Celltech/UCB.

Pfizer has a number of ADCs in its pipeline against  various targets, though a year back it tossed out PF-06688992, an ADC  composed of a monoclonal antibody against the ganglioside GD3. Three  years ago it also backed out of a $635 million next-gen antibody-drug  conjugates deal with CytomX, originally penning this pact in 2013. It  will hope to have better luck with Pyxis.

“The early generations of ADCs demonstrated  significant potency, but considerable room remains for innovation to  generate highly effective ADCs with an improved safety profile,” added  Ronald Herbst, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Pyxis.

“PYX-201 and PYX-203 represent the next generation  of ADCs that use innovative conjugation technologies. By combining  highly specific antibodies targeting clinically validated tumor markers  with established linkers and both novel and proven payloads, we are  excited to translate the extensive validating preclinical studies  conducted by Pfizer to an improved clinical profile for patients.”

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