Bristol-Myers Squibb enters immuno-oncology drug development deals with CytomX, Incyte

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced Tuesday deals with CytomX Therapeutics and Incyte focused on developing immuno-oncology drugs. Bristol-Myers Squibb chief scientific officer Francis Cuss remarked "immuno-oncology offers a tremendous opportunity to change how cancer is treated, and Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to advancing our immuno-oncology drug research."

Under the first research collaboration and license agreement, which is potentially worth up to $1.2 billion, Bristol-Myers Squibb and CytomX will develop therapies against multiple immuno-oncology targets using the latter's Probody Platform. The companies noted that CytomX will grant Bristol-Myers Squibb exclusive global rights to develop and market Probodies for up to four oncology targets including CTLA-4. Bristol-Myers Squibb added that the drugmaker will also have rights to substitute up to two collaboration targets.

As part of the deal, Bristol-Myers Squibb will make an upfront payment of $50 million to CytomX and provide research funding. In addition, CytomX is eligible to receive preclinical payments and up to $298 million in future development, regulatory and sales milestone payments for each collaboration target, as well as tiered mid-single-digit rising to low-double-digit royalty payments on net sales of each product commercialised by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Meanwhile, under a clinical trial collaboration, Bristol-Myers Squibb will evaluate the combination of its experimental PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab with Incyte’s oral IDO1 inhibitor INCB24360. The companies noted that a Phase I/II study in multiple tumour types is planned to
begin in the fourth quarter, which will be co-funded by the two drugmakers and conducted by Incyte. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

According to Bristol-Myers Squibb and Incyte, preclinical evidence suggests that the combination of nivolumab and INCB24360 "may lead to an enhanced antitumour immune response compared to either agent alone." Michael Giordano, senior vice president of Oncology and Immunosciences Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb, added "given the encouraging data for Incyte’s IDO1 inhibitor and our current understanding of nivolumab’s antitumour immune response, we see this as an important area of study to add to our broad clinical development programme."

Earlier this month, Incyte partnered with AstraZeneca's MedImmune unit on a Phase I/II study of INCB24360 in combination with the latter's anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor MEDI4736. For related analysis, see Spotlight On: The great immuno-oncology race – can everyone be a winner?

To read more Top Story articles, click here.