AstraZeneca’s run of deal-making has continued with the firm signing an antibody technology agreement with the USA’s Regeneron Pharmaceuticals which could net the latter firm up to $120 million.

Regeneron has given the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker a non-exclusive licence to utilise the US firm’s VelocImmune technology in its internal research programmes to discover human monoclonal antibodies. AstraZeneca will conduct the work at its Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) unit and says the deal is part of its “recently-stated aim of building a biopharmaceutical capability.”

Under the terms of the deal, AstraZeneca will pay $20 million upfront and make up to five extra annual payments of $20 million, though there is a clause which allows it to terminate the agreement after paying the first three additional sums. If any of the products that are discovered using VelocImmune get to market, AstraZeneca will pay Regeneron a mid-single-digit royalty on sales.

CAT’s Alex Duncan said that the combination of the unit’s display technologies and the VelocImmune platform “will provide enormous potential for creating antibody therapeutics."

The link-up with Regeneron comes after AstraZeneca signed a trio of agreements last week, with Argenta Discovery (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and the USA's Palatin Technologies (obesity), plus the acquisition of UK antiviral specialist Arrow Therapeutics for $150 million.