Shares in Affimed more than doubled on news that it has signed a deal with Roche group Genentech to develop immunotherapies for various cancers.

Affimed will apply its proprietary Redirected Optimised Cell Killing (ROCK) platform, which enables the generation of both NK cell and T cell-engaging antibodies, to discover and advance innate immune cell engager-based immunotherapeutics of interest to Genentech.

The collaboration includes candidate products generated from Affimed’s ROCK platform and multiple undisclosed solid and hematologic tumor targets.

Affimed and Genentech will work together on the discovery, early research and late-stage research phases, while Genentech will be responsible for clinical development and commercialisation worldwide.

The German biopharma will receive $96 million in an initial upfront payment and other near-term committed funding, but also could bank up to an additional $5.0 billion over time, including payments upon achievement of specified development, regulatory and commercial milestones, and royalties on sales.

“This collaboration is based on Affimed’s innate immune cell drug discovery and development expertise and our team’s deep understanding of cancer immunology,” commented James Sabry, global head of partnering, Roche.

“Our partnership with Affimed provides an opportunity to enhance our existing efforts to understand how the immune system can be activated to help people living with cancer.”