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Pfizer Grants Pyxis Oncology Licenses to Develop Two Antibody-Drug Conjugate Candidates

NEW YORK – Pyxis Oncology said on Thursday that it has entered into a worldwide license agreement with Pfizer for the development and commercialization of two of Pfizer's antibody-drug conjugate candidates and for its ADC drug development platform.

Pfizer will receive an undisclosed upfront payment from Pyxis for the license to PYX-201, an ADC that targets a novel tumor-restricted antigen in certain solid tumors, and PYX-203, a DNA damaging agent that targets a well-validated tumor antigen expressed in some blood cancers. Pyxis did not disclose the specific antigens targeted. The firm will also make development and sales-based milestone payments to Pfizer, and tiered royalty payments on potential sales of the drugs.

As part of this deal, Pfizer will make an equity investment in Pyxis through Pfizer Ventures and support the development of other therapies by Pyxis using its ADC platform. That platform includes various payload classes, linker technology, and site-specific conjugation techniques to support development.

"The early generations of ADCs demonstrated significant potency, but considerable room remains for innovation to generate highly effective ADCs with an improved safety profile," Ronald Herbst, Pyxis CSO, said in a statement. "PYX-201 and PYX-203 represent the next generation of ADCs that use innovative conjugation technologies. By combining highly specific antibodies targeting clinically validated tumor markers with established linkers and both novel and proven payloads, we are excited to translate the extensive validating preclinical studies conducted by Pfizer to an improved clinical profile for patients."

Boston-based Pyxis was founded in 2019 by venture capital firm Longwood Fund and is focused on developing ADCs and immunotherapies to treat cancer. The biotech's $22 million Series A funding round last July was led by Bayer's investment unit Leaps by Bayer, along with Longwood, Agent Capital, and Ipsen.