Cancer Research Technology, Tusk Therapeutics and UCL (University College London) have have signed a pact to research, develop and commercialise an antibody-based therapeutic against a target known to play a key role in immune suppression in cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, immuno-oncology group Tusk bags an exclusive worldwide licence from CRT to develop and commercialise therapeutic antibodies against the target, originating from the Cancer Research UK-funded research of Dr Sergio Quezada and Professor Karl Peggs at UCL. I

CRT will receive an upfront payment, future success-based milestones and royalty payments, which will be shared with UCL.

Tusk has also signed a three-year collaboration with CRT and UCL to part-fund a programme of preclinical work, led by Dr Quezada, assessing antibodies in various cancer models before formal preclinical and clinical development, after which the firm will take on responsibility for accelerating the progress of any successful candidates into the clinic.

Commenting on the deal, CRT's director of business management Dr Phil L'Huillier said it "brings together Cancer Research UK's and UCL's world-leading immune-oncology expertise with Tusk Therapeutics' growing industry reputation for developing promising immune-modulating antibodies.

"It's one of several projects now in our portfolio focused on the up-and-coming field of immune-oncology that we hope will accelerate progress towards exciting new treatments for cancer patients."

Further terms of the deal where not revealed.