Busy day for Exelixis with 2 new deals worth up to $937M-plus in biobucks

Exelixis is making money moves, penning two new deals for a total of $100 million upfront to earn the chance to add several new oncology assets to its pipeline.    

The genomics-based biotech is handing over $60 million cash for the right to acquire Cybrexa Therapeutics’ antigen-independent peptide, dubbed CBX-12. The asset is designed for patients who can’t receive antigen-targeted therapies, like monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and antibody-drug conjugates, and could potentially be used as part of a combination regimen, according to a Nov. 1 release. The asset is currently being evaluated in a phase 1 trial for patients with metastatic solid tumors.

In turn, Cybrexa could make up to $642.5 million in certain milestone payments and the potential fee to acquire CBX-12 pending evaluation of the data package, giving the deal a total potential value of $702.5 million. 

"Today's announcement further highlights our ongoing strategy to leverage our balance sheet to gain access to new assets with compelling potential upside in a risk-sharing model, where we can work with partners to further establish proof of concept before investing more heavily,” Exelixis President and CEO Michael Morrissey, Ph.D., said in the release.

Meanwhile, the Californian biotech has inked an exclusive clinical development and option deal with Dutch company Sairopa for its investigational mAb known as ADU-1805. Exelixis paid out $40 million cash for the option to obtain a global license for developing and commercializing the therapy.

Under the agreement terms, Exelixis will make an additional $70 million payment in near-term milestones for an option on ADU-1805 and other similar antibodies as well as for certain costs incurred by Sairopa as it launches phase 1 clinical studies of ADU-1805 during the option period.

The antibody at the center of the deal, ADU-1805, is taking aim at blocking SIRPα, a CD47 checkpoint present on the surface of cancer cells. Sairopa plans to ask the FDA for approval to start human trials for the asset in the first quarter of 2023.

“There is a strong scientific rationale for blockade of this pathway in multiple solid tumor types and for combining ADU-1805 with XL092, our novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor, and with approved immune checkpoint inhibitors, further expanding the potential clinical and commercial value of ADU-1805,” Peter Lamb, Ph.D., executive vice president of scientific strategy and chief scientific officer at Exelixis, said in a Nov. 1 release.

Sairopa could also receive more development milestone payments during the option period. After prespecified clinical studies wrap up, Exelixis can choose to exercise its option for $225 million. If the biotech does so, Sairopa will be eligible to receive additional milestone and royalty payments.

The two deals come as biotechs lean on each other during the industry’s prolonged bear market, though analysts suggest a rebound may be on the horizon.