Oxford BioTherapeutics has been boosted by the news that it is to collaborate with Boehringer Ingelheim to discover antibody targets in cancer.

Under the terms of the alliance, OBT will validate certain targets it has discovered that are compatible with targeting by various antibody drug formats "across a range of cancer indications". The German group will then have the exclusive right to develop and commercialise antibody products for selected programmes.

No financial details have been disclosed but OBT will receive an upfront fee and funding for other activities. It will be eligible for certain milestone payments, as well as royalties on sales of any resulting products. Christian Rohlff, chief executive of the Oxford-based group, said that "selecting the right target is fundamental for the successful development of a first-in-class antibody", adding that "we are delighted to collaborate with a company of the calibre of Boehringer n this exciting area".

OBT already has a number of partnerships in place with the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, Seattle Genetics, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amgen, Menarini and Sanofi. The firm claims that its proteomic database, OGAP, "represents the world’s largest proprietary collections of disease-associated proteins". Over two million human protein fragments have been sequenced in OGAP in 50 different human tissues representing 60 diseases, including 25 forms of cancer.