An antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) consists of a small molecule drug – or payloads – connected by a linker to a monoclonal antibody which targets diseased tissues.
In 2001, Pfizer was the first to see regulatory success with an ADC through the - later withdrawn - drug Mylotarg, and now the Big Biopharma firm is looking to explore such technology further through a joint licensing deal with Bioatla.
Under terms of the agreement announced yesterday, Pfizer will pay up to $1bn (€920m) in up-front, regulatory and sales milestone payments after accessing the San Diego-based biotech’s CAB platform and gaining the exclusive option to develop and commercialise BioAtla’s CAB antibodies that target CTLA4, a validated immuno-oncology target in humans.
CABs are proteins, such as antibodies or enzymes, activated by specific microenvironments within the body, and in May 2014 Bioatla received a method-independent patent for their development and manufacture.
“CAB-ADC antibodies aim to address the inherent limitations of current ADC antibody technology by actively binding to antigens expressed on tumor tissue-resident cancer cells, but not to the same antigens expressed on normal cells in non-diseased tissues,” Bioatla said in a statement.
“The use of CAB antibodies as payload delivery vehicles could dramatically increase the number of tumor-associated antigens that are addressable with ADC technology.”
The agreement will also allow Bioalta access to ADC payloads owned by Pfizer, which would then receive milestone payments and royalties on any successful CAB-ADC product developed by Bioalta.
“This agreement between Pfizer and BioAtla provides an exciting opportunity to further explore innovative and potentially breakthrough technologies in the treatment of human cancers,” said Bob Abraham, Head of Pfizer's Oncology-Rinat R&D Group;
“By leveraging the unique capabilities of the two companies, we hope to advance our mission to deliver safer and more effective medicines to our patients.”