AstraZeneca fortifies bet on cancer immunotherapy

AstraZeneca (AZN) is looking to challenge Merck (MRK) and Bristol-Myers (BMY) in the cancer immunotherapy race, as MedImmune strikes a deal with privately-held Immunocore for the development of the latter's Immune Mobilizing Monoclonal T-Cell Receptor Against Cancer technology.

"ImmTACs," as the therapies are called, harness the body's own T cells to fight cancer.

MedImmune is paying $20M upfront per program, with Immunocore eligible to receive up to $300M in milestones plus royalties on successful programs.

As Reuters notes, AZN is entrenched in the cancer drug market and the company likely "believes its broad portfolio of experimental drugs, ranging from traditional pills to injectable biotech products, puts it in a strong position to develop combination therapies." (PR)

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