After Astra, Pfizer Taps Other Immuno-Oncology Markets

With the immuno-oncology field getting more intense, Pfizer continues its struggle to gain a foothold in the field. Following unsuccessful attempts to bid for AstraZeneca, Pfizer has now signed a deal with a Belgian company, iTeos Therapeutics.

With its designs on AstraZeneca at least temporarily abandoned, Pfizer has set out to create an immuno-oncology portfolio of its own, signing a deal with a Belgian biotech to get its hands on treatments that promise to sharpen the body's anticancer weaponry.

Pfizer has agreed to pay iTeos Therapeutics €24 million ($30 million) up front for the exclusive rights to some preclinical candidates, also making an undisclosed equity investment in the company and promising untold milestone payments down the line.

Through the deal, Pfizer gets some early-stage drugs that target IDO1 and TDO2, cancer-expressed enzymes that break down tryptophan, which is integral to the immune system's ability to recognize tumors. By blocking the enzymes, iTeos' candidates can unblind the body's defenses and help T cells better attack malignancies, Pfizer said. And, beyond collaborating on IDO1 and TDO2 blockers, iTeo and Pfizer have agreed to work together to discover and validate new immuno-oncology targets.

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