Pfizer, BioAtla to develop cancer antibody therapeutics under deal potentially worth over $1 billion

Pfizer entered into an agreement with BioAtla potentially worth more than $1 billion to develop a new class of antibody therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, BioAtla announced. The companies plan to use BioAtla's Conditionally Active Biologic (CAB) platform in combination with Pfizer's antibody drug conjugate (ADC) payloads. "This agreement...provides an exciting opportunity to further explore innovative and potentially breakthrough technologies in the treatment of human cancers," remarked Bob Abraham, head of Pfizer's Oncology-Rinat R&D group.

Under the agreed terms, Pfizer and BioAtla will each receive a licence to the other's technology to develop and commercialise several CAB-ADC antibodies. Pfizer will additionally receive an exclusive option to develop and commercialise BioAtla's CAB antibodies that target CTLA4.

Meanwhile, both drugmakers are eligible for milestone payments and royalties based on individual CAB-ADC antibody candidates developed and commercialised by the other company. Including the CTLA4 option and licence, BioAtla is eligible to receive more than $1 billion in up-front, regulatory and sales milestone payments, as well as up to double-digit tiered marginal royalties on potential future product sales.

BioAtla noted that CAB-ADC antibodies seek to overcome the inherent limitations of current ADC antibody technology by actively binding to antigens expressed on cancer cells in tumour tissue, but not antigens expressed on normal cells in non-diseased tissues. The drugmaker added that this approach could permit the preferential targeting of tumour tissues by ADCs, thus increasing the efficacy-safety ratios of CAB-ADCs relative to their conventional counterparts.

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