Another day and another cancer deal for AstraZeneca which has teamed up with privately-held, UK biotech Immunocore.
The deal centres around Immunocore’s ImmTAC technology which has created a platform of biological medicines which direct a patient’s T cells to specifically destroy only cancerous cells, avoiding damage to healthy ones.
Under the terms of the agreement, Immunocore and AstraZeneca's biologics unit MedImmune will generate ImmTACs against selected cancer targets. Cashwise, the former will receive an upfront fee of $20 million per programme and the Oxford-based group is then eligible to receive up to $300 million in development and commercial milestone payments for each target programme and significant tiered royalties.
MedImmune chief Bahija Jallal said the deal "has the potential to further enhance our immune-mediated cancer therapy portfolio". She added that the ImmTAC technology "presents a significant opportunity for us to achieve treatment breakthroughs".
The deal is the third oncology pact that AstraZeneca has already inked in 2014. It has acquired a cyclin-dependent kinase 9 inhibitor programme, targeting cancer and inflammatory diseases, from Germany's Probiodrug and signed a second deal with the UK's Horizon Discovery.
The collaboration is also a boost for Immunocore, as it marks the third major partnership signed in the last six months. Deals with Roche and GlaxoSmithKline were inked last summer.