New biotech player CytomX looking to raise $100M in IPO

By maria collazo

The biotech company changing the landscape of antibody therapeutics has recently filed plans with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $100 million in an IPO.

CytomX Therapeutics, led by CEO Sean McCarthy, initially raised $70 million in a late stage round of funding led by Fidelity Management & Research Co. In total, the company has raised $142 million in equity funding since it was founded in 2008.

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According to the filing, Third Rock Ventures, Canaan Partners, Fidelity, CytomX Therapeutics Holdings, Roche Finance and Pfizer are the company’s biggest shareholders.

Promising classes of antibodies, including immunotherapies and antibody drug conjugates, have shown meaningful improvements in efficacy in treating cancer. However, these therapies can result in significant side effects, either as single agents or combinations, as the antibody typically binds to targets on healthy tissue, not just targets on cancer cells. These side effects can limit patients’ ability to complete a course of therapy and to achieve the full benefit of treatment.

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CytomX’s response to these reactions is the Probody platform to develop therapies that remain inert in healthy tissue but are activated in the disease microenvironment. The company’s lead program is for PD-L1, which has been focused on dismantling the barrier between cancer cells and T cell attackers.

Probodies are designed to bind selectively to tumors, and not to healthy tissue, and to minimize toxic side effects and creating safer, more effective cancer therapies, according to CytomX’s site.

"We believe that our Probody platform will allow us to improve the combined efficacy and safety profile, or therapeutic window, of monoclonal antibody modalities including cancer immunotherapies, antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) and T-cell-recruiting bispecific antibodies," the company said in the filing.

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According to Fierce Biotech, CytomX's CX-072 won't be ready for an IND filing until the second half of 2016. But even with the late start, the biotech believes it has an inside track at a new-and-better technology.

"Our 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," said the company. "We are currently developing Probody therapeutics that address clinically-validated cancer targets in immuno-oncology, such as PD-L1, as well as novel targets, such as CD-166, that are difficult to drug and lead to concerns about damage to healthy tissues, or toxicities."

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[SOURCE: Silicon Valley Business Journal, Fierce Biotech]


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