MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s global biologics R&D arm, has entered into an oncology research collaboration and licensing agreement with Immunocore, a privately-held, U.K.-based biotechnology company. Both companies will research and develop novel cancer therapies using Immunocore’s Immune Mobilizing Monoclonal T-Cell Receptor Against Cancer (ImmTAC) technology.
This platform of biological medicines 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.
Immunocore and MedImmune will work together to generate ImmTACs against selected cancer targets. AstraZeneca and MedImmune will have the right to further develop and commercialize ImmTAC products to add to their immune-mediated cancer therapy portfolio. Immunocore will receive an upfront payment of $20 million per program and is eligible to receive up to $300 million in development and commercial milestone payments for each target program and significant tiered royalties.
“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,” said Dr. Bahija Jallal, executive vice president, MedImmune.
Oncology is a core therapy area for AstraZeneca spanning both small molecule and biologics R&D. 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 tumor-targeted way.