HOUSTON and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Nov. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CytomX Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CTMX), a biopharmaceutical company developing investigational Probody™ therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, today entered into a collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to research Probody-enabled chimeric antigen receptor natural killer (CAR-NK) cell therapies, to be known as ProCAR-NK cell therapies.
MD Anderson will leverage its expertise in developing allogeneic umbilical cord blood and peripheral blood derived NK-cell therapies and combine it with CytomX's Probody technology to address new targets for this novel modality in cancer immunotherapy. Designed for more precise binding to tumors and reduced binding to healthy tissue, ProCAR-NK cell therapies will be created against targets for which safety and toxicity have traditionally been limiting factors for CAR cell therapies. Under the collaboration, CytomX and MD Anderson will develop ProCAR-NK cell therapies against multiple targets, and CytomX will have the option to license therapeutics that demonstrate preclinical proof of concept for clinical and commercial development.
From MD Anderson, the collaboration will be led by Katy Rezvani, M.D., Ph.D., professor, department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy; and Elizabeth Shpall, M.D., professor, department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. Rezvani has conducted more than a decade of research in NK-cell therapies.
"Our researchers see distinct promise in NK cells, as their role in the innate immune system enables immediate tumor killing effect compared to T-cells. In addition, CAR-NK cells have the opportunity to be off the shelf therapies as opposed to autologous CAR-T cell therapies," said Rezvani. "By combining these advantages of CAR-NK cell therapies with the added targeting of this novel technology, we believe that we can create therapies that realize the full potential of the therapeutic class."
Therapeutics developed with CytomX's Probody platform have a mask linked to the antibody's antigen-binding site designed to avoid the binding of antigens on healthy tissue. The mask is cleaved by proteases found in the tumor microenvironment, allowing Probody therapeutic to selectively bind to tumor cells. This binding selectivity allows CytomX to potentially expand the therapeutic window for both existing and new antigen targets. CytomX's pipeline of wholly owned and partnered programs includes development-stage Probody cancer immunotherapies, Probody drug conjugates and Probody bispecifics.
"The progress we continue to make within our pipeline has shown that Probody therapies offer important advantages over traditional antibodies, with the potential for creating safe and effective cancer immunotherapies and antibody drug conjugates," said Sean McCarthy, D.Phil., chief executive officer of CytomX. "This collaboration will allow us to draw on world-class research from MD Anderson in the field of CAR-NK cell therapies and extend our platform to this exciting modality."
NK cells are cytotoxic lymphocytes that comprise a central component of the innate immune system. When these cells are engineered to express CARs that target proteins found on cancer cells, they demonstrate powerful anti-tumor responses. The resulting therapeutic class has potential advantages over CAR-T cells, including simpler manufacturing.
About CytomX Therapeutics CytomX is an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company pioneering a novel class of investigational antibody therapeutics based on its Probody technology platform. The company uses the platform to create development-stage proprietary cancer immunotherapies against clinically-validated targets, as well as to develop first-in-class investigational cancer therapeutics against novel targets. CytomX believes that its Probody platform has the potential to improve the combined efficacy and safety profile of monoclonal antibody modalities, including cancer immunotherapies, antibody drug conjugates and T-cell-recruiting bispecific antibodies. Probody therapeutics are designed to take advantage of unique conditions in the tumor microenvironment to enhance the tumor-targeting features of an antibody and reduce drug activity in healthy tissues. Probody therapeutics are being developed that address clinically-validated cancer targets in immuno-oncology, such as an anti-PD-L1 Probody (CX-072), as well as novel targets, such as CD-166, that are difficult to drug without causing damage to healthy tissues, or toxicities. In addition to its proprietary programs, CytomX is collaborating with strategic partners including Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Pfizer Inc. and ImmunoGen, Inc. For more information, visit www.cytomx.com.
About MD Anderson The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. The institution's sole mission is to end cancer for patients and their families around the world. MD Anderson is one of only 45 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). MD Anderson is ranked No.1 for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report's "Best Hospital's" survey. It has ranked as one of the nation's top two hospitals since the survey began in 1990, and has ranked first for 11 of the past 14 years. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA016672).
Forward-Looking Statements This press release includes forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that are difficult to predict, may be beyond our control, and may cause the actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied in such statements. Accordingly, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements. Our Probody platform is in preclinical development, and the process by which a preclinical technology could potentially lead to an approved product is long and subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Our collaboration with MD Anderson involves early stage research that may not result in any clinical development. Applicable risks and uncertainties include those relating to our preclinical research and development and other risks identified under the heading "Risk Factors" included in our filings with the SEC. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based on information currently available to CytomX and speak only as of the date on which they are made. CytomX does not undertake and specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.
CytomX Media Contacts Canale Communications Ian Stone firstname.lastname@example.org 619-849-5388
CytomX Investor Contacts Trout Group Pete Rahmer email@example.com 646-378-2973
MD Anderson Media Contact Ron Gilmore firstname.lastname@example.org 713-745-1898
SOURCE CytomX Therapeutics