Boehringer Ingelheim and OSE Immunotherapeutics have joined forced to develop OSE-172, a novel checkpoint inhibitor antibody targeting myeloid lineage cells for the treatment of advanced solid tumours.

Under the deal, the German drugmaker has acquired global rights to develop, register and commercialise the SIRP-alpha antagonist, deepening its focus on research in the field of immuno-oncology.

In return, OSE Immunotherapeutics will receive a 15-million euro upfront payment as well as potential additional short-term milestones of up to 15 million euros on initiation of a Phase I clinical study.

However, the company could bank more than 1.1 billion euros if all pre-specified development, commercialisation and sales milestones are achieved, plus royalties on worldwide net sales.

The partnership “is a real recognition of the value of our innovative approach to treating cancer and will create an exciting new alliance to fuel the phase I development of OSE-172,” said Dr Dominique Costantini, OSE’s chief executive.

“Boehringer Ingelheim’s expertise and insights will be invaluable as we step up the clinical development and work to commercialise this new treatment paradigm.”

“A key area of focus is the identification of drugs that target myeloid cell immune regulatory receptors of which SIRP-alpha is a leading example. We are dedicated to developing ground-breaking, first-in-class therapies that can transform the lives of patients and help win the fight against cancer,” added Jonathon Sedgwick, global head Cancer Immunology & Immune Modulation Research at Boehringer.