Boehringer Ingelheim is delving deeper into the hot field of immunotherapy in a research deal with Yale University to discover novel therapeutic targets that harness the immune system to fight disease. 

The alliance will see both groups working together to identify and develop new immuno-modulatory agents for oncology, autoimmune and respiratory disorders, with BI stumping up the cash for a select number of projects.

Under the terms of the deal, financial details of which were kept under wraps, BI has an option to bag an exclusive license for any successful programmes.

The move buys the German drugmaker access to Lieping Chen, Professor of Immunobiology and Director of Cancer Immunology at the Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, who will co-lead the collaborative research.

Dr Chan was the first scientist to apply co-stimulation as a means for cancer immunotherapy, and “his pioneer works in discovering the PD-L1/PD-1 pathway and anti-PD-L1/PD-1 therapy have shown to be highly promising for treating cancer patients,” the firm said.