MedImmune, AstraZeneca's global biologics research and development arm, has entered into an oncology research collaboration and licensing agreement with Immunocore Limited, a privately-held, UK-based biotechnology company.
Both companies will research and develop novel cancer therapies using Immunocore's Immune Mobilising Monoclonal T-Cell Receptor Against Cancer (ImmTAC) technology.
This platform of biological medicines, or ImmTACs, exploits the power of the body's own immune system to find and kill diseased cells. ImmTACs direct a patient's T cells to specifically destroy only the cancerous cells, avoiding damage to healthy cells.
Under the terms of the agreement, Immunocore and MedImmune will work together to generate ImmTACs against selected cancer targets. AstraZeneca and MedImmune will have the right to further develop and commercialise ImmTAC products to add to their immune-mediated cancer therapy portfolio. Immunocore will receive an upfront payment of $20 million per programme and the company is then eligible to receive up to $300 million in development and commercial milestone payments for each target programme and significant tiered royalties if the programmes are successful.
"We look forward to collaborating with Immunocore on this promising area of cancer research that has the potential to further enhance our immune-mediated cancer therapy portfolio for patients with a range of cancer types," said Dr. Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, MedImmune. "Immunocore has a strong track record with its innovative ImmTAC technology, and presents a significant opportunity for us to achieve treatment breakthroughs in the area of immune-mediated cancer therapies."
Oncology is a core therapy area for AstraZeneca spanning both small molecule and biologics research and development. The company is developing a comprehensive portfolio in immune-mediated cancer therapies, and the collaboration with Immunocore will help expand MedImmune's portfolio of agents that harness the patient's own immune system to fight cancer in a very tumour-targeted way.
"We are delighted to be collaborating with MedImmune, a leader in the development of biotherapeutics with particular strengths in oncology," said James Noble, Chief Executive Officer, Immunocore. "We look forward to working together to develop ImmTAC therapies against cancer targets and address the unmet medical needs of many thousands of cancer patients."
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