AstraZeneca Partners with Immunocore

The day after announcing a partnership with UK’s Horizon Discovery, AstraZeneca have announced another oncology partnership with Immunocore, a UK biotechnology company.

The agreement with Immunocore focuses around Immunocore’s ImmTAC technology.  The technology has created a platform of biological medicines which direct a patient’s T cells to specifically destroy only cancerous cells, avoiding damage to healthy cells.

Under the terms of the partnership, Immunocore and AstraZeneca’s biologics unit MedImmune will generate ImmTACs against selected cancer targets.  Cashwise, Immunocore will receive an upfront fee of $20 million per programme, followed by $300 million in development and commercial milestone payments for each target programme and significant tiered royalties, if the programmes are successful.

AstraZeneca’s MedImmune Executive Vice President, Bahija Jallal, said the deal “has the potential to further enhance our immune-mediated cancer therapy portfolio.”  Jallal added that the ImmTAC technology “presents a significant opportunity for us to achieve treatment breakthroughs.”

The agreement is the third oncology partnership that AstraZeneca has already announced so far in 2014, having acquired a cyclin-dependent kinase 9 inhibitor programme, targeting cancer and inflammatory diseases, from Germany’s Probiodrug last week.

The collaboration is also a boost for Immunocore, as it marks the third major partnership they have signed in the last six months, with deals with Roche and GlaxoSmithKline agreed by the company last summer.


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