US drug giant Abbott has laid $8 million on the table for access to Seattle Genetics' antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology with antibodies to a single cancer target.

Under the terms, Abbott holds responsibility for research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any ADC-based products, and has agreed to pay Seattle annual maintenance fees and research support payments for any help given under the collaboration.

But the deal is potentially worth much, much more to Seattle, as the firm could receive around $200 million in milestone payments, in addition to royalties on worldwide net sales of any products that make it to market.

ADCs are monoclonal antibodies that, using Seattle's proprietary technology, selectively deliver potent anti-cancer agents straight into tumor cells, an approach designed to keep healthy cells safe from harm and thereby sidestep some of the toxic effects of traditional chemotherapies.

“This is the second ADC collaboration with a multinational pharmaceutical company that we have announced this year, further illustrating the important role that our ADC technology is poised to play in the treatment of many types of cancer," noted Eric Dobmeier, Chief Business Officer of Seattle Genetics.

The company hooked up with Pfizer in January under a similar deal centred on a single oncology target, under which Seattle also received an upfront fee of $8 million and could get potential milestones worth $200 million.