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February 13, 2024

New Haven biotech firm regains full rights to cancer drug

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED Workers perform research in Cybrexa’s New Haven lab.

New Haven-based biotech firm Cybrexa Therapeutics has regained all of the rights to a drug that targets cancerous tumors after a California-based firm ended a deal to acquire them.

Cybrexa Therapeutics is a clinical-stage oncology biotechnology company that is developing a novel class of tumor-targeting peptide drug conjugate therapeutics. In November 2022, Alameda, California-based Exelixis Inc. entered into an agreement with Cybrexa to acquire the rights to the drug CBX-12, also known as alphalex exatecan. 

Under terms of the deal, Exelixis was to pay Cybrexa an upfront fee of $60 million in exchange for the right to acquire CBX-12 “pending certain Phase 1 results and to fund certain development and manufacturing expenses incurred by Cybrexa to advance an agreed development plan.”

The deal announcement also stated that Cybrexa might also be eligible to receive up to an additional $642.5 million in payments related to development, regulatory, and commercial milestones, “as well as a fee for the acquisition of CBX-12 upon evaluation of a pre-specified clinical data package.”

Last week, however, Cybrexa announced that it would “regain all rights” after Exelixis provided “a notice of termination for the right to acquire CBX-12.”

A spokesperson for Cybrexa said the company is not required to return the upfront fee. The spokesperson added that the firm now has full rights to independently develop CBX-12 and will not receive any development payments from Exelixis.

“We appreciate the excellent collaboration we had with Exelixis and the advances we made working together on the CBX-12 clinical program,” Per Hellsund, Cybrexa president & CEO, said in a news release. “This collaboration has positioned Cybrexa to move CBX-12 into phase II trials later this year.” 

Cybrexa said CBX-12 may be especially beneficial for patients who are not eligible for antigen-targeted therapies, and has potential for use in combination regimens with other anti-cancer agents and immunotherapies.

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