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November 4, 2022 BIOSCIENCE

California biotech targets Cybrexa’s oncology drug in $702M deal

PHOTO | FILE IMAGE Per Hellsund is the CEO of New Haven-based Cybrexa Therapeutics.

New Haven-based biotech company Cybrexa Therapeutics has reached an exclusive collaboration agreement with California company Exelixis Inc., which grants the latter the right to acquire Cybrexa’s oncology drug candidate.

The agreement, announced this week, comes on the heels of Cybrexa’s recent news that its first in-human study of its drug candidate CBX-12 showed evidence of effectiveness against tumors.

Exelixis Inc., which was founded in 1994, already has anti-cancer medications on the market, such as Cabometyx.

Officials with the two companies estimated the agreement is worth up to $702.5 million. 

Exelixis will pay an upfront fee of $60 million for the right to acquire CBX-12, according to an announcement.

Cybrexa, founded in 2017, may also be eligible to receive up to an additional $642.5 million. This figure would include development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, as well as a fee for the acquisition of CBX-12 upon evaluation of a pre-specified clinical data package, the companies said.

Michael Morrissey, president and CEO of Exelixis, said, “This agreement aligns with Exelixis’ goal of acquiring first- or best-in-class clinical-stage assets that may provide differentiated benefits to patients with cancer.”

Morrissey noted how initial clinical data from an ongoing Phase 1 trial suggest that CBX-12 may positively impact solid tumors. 

“We believe this novel peptide-drug conjugate has transformative clinical potential,” Morrissey said.

Per Hellsund, president and CEO of Cybrexa, said his company is focused on developing the next generation of cancer therapeutics that specifically target tumors and their underlying biology. 

“We are excited to bring Exelixis’ insights and resources to the development of CBX-12,”  Hellsund said.

The first in-human study of CBX-12 showed evidence of effectiveness against tumors, and that it was safe and well tolerated, according to Cybrexa. 

On Oct. 28, the company presented its study findings at an industry meeting in Spain, the annual EORTC-NCI-AACR (ENA) Symposium.

The human study evaluated CBX-12 in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors. The company indicated that researchers saw anti-tumor activity in multiple tumor types. The ongoing study continues to evaluate safety and tolerability. The data collected will be used for determining dosage in a Phase II study.

Cybrexa’s pipeline aims to combat breast, ovarian, non-small-cell lung cancer and a range of other tumors. 

Contact Michelle Tuccitto Sullo at msullo@newhavenbiz.com.

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