Caris Life Sciences and Xencor have entered into a multi-year strategic option and license agreement to research, develop and commercialise Xencor’s XmAb bispecific antibodies directed against novel targets for the treatment of patients with cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, Xencor will receive exclusive options to research, develop and commercialise products directed to up to three targets.

Caris will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive license fees, discovery, development, regulatory and sales-based milestones of up to $120m.

The company is also expected to receive royalty payments on potential net sales of each product emerging from the collaboration.

In addition, it will receive future rights for molecular profiling and companion diagnostics for drug candidates developed under the collaboration.

Caris Life Sciences president and chief scientific officer David Spetzler said: “There is a critical need to address the paucity of novel therapeutic targets in oncology.

“Consequently, we have launched a comprehensive platform agnostic to therapeutic modality to discover and validate novel cancer targets.

“Our collaboration with Xencor will combine Caris’ proprietary, multi-omics target discovery engine and Xencor’s XmAb engineering platform to design and manufacture investigational bispecific antibodies to develop first-in-class therapies for patients with cancer.”

Caris will deploy its unique drug discovery platform Caris Discovery to identify novel targets for bispecific antibody drug candidates, under the collaboration.

Caris Discovery combines insights generated from molecular interrogation of primary patient tissues using ADAPT, a validation pipeline, and CODEai.

ADAPT is the company’s exclusive aptamer-based proteomic profiling platform.

CODEai is a unique real-world data platform that integrates the company’s directory of molecular data with cancer treatment information.

Xencor is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing engineered antibodies and cytokines for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases.

Xencor senior vice president and chief scientific officer John Desjarlais said: “Our collaboration with Caris leverages the plug-and-play nature of the XmAb platform, combining Xencor’s extensive set of protein engineering tools and capabilities with Caris’ innovation in precision oncology.

“Caris has built a unique target discovery platform, coupled with deep genomics information, that will enhance our ability to create and evaluate a new generation of XmAb bispecific and multi-specific antibodies, including T cell engagers, NK cell engagers and other modalities.”