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AbbVie teams up with Tizona Therapeutics to develop cancer therapies

AbbVie Inc. said it partnered with privately held Tizona Therapeutics Inc. to develop a certain class of experimental drugs, including potential cancer therapy TTX-030.

The deal involves South San Francisco, Calif.-based Tizona's drugs, which target CD39, an enzyme that helps the tumor cells better evade the body's immune system.

Under the deal, North Chicago, Ill.-based AbbVie will pay Tizona $105 million upfront for the exclusive option to license its CD39 program, including TTX-030.

Tizona is also eligible to receive success-based development and commercial milestones payments and royalties on net sales.

AbbVie will also make an undisclosed investment in Tizona, with the latter expected to complete the phase 1b studies for TTX-030.

Tizona, which has successfully submitted an investigational new drug application for TTX-030, will launch studies for the drug in the first quarter of 2019.

AbbVie also has an exclusive option to commercialize the drug globally, with Tizona retaining an option to co-develop and co-promote TTX-030 in the U.S.