AstraZeneca‘s MedImmune division and French biotechnology company Innate Pharma have entered into a new agreement to bolster their respective oncology portfolio.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will gain complete rights to monalizumab, a humanised anti-NKG2A antibody being developed under a prior partnership signed with Innate Pharma in 2015.

AstraZeneca additionally obtains option rights for co-development and co-commercialisation of a CD39-targeting antibody called IPH5201, along with four of Innate Pharma’s preclinical molecules.

Besides, the pharmaceutical giant is licensing commercial rights for Lumoxiti drug in the US and European Union (EU) to Innate Pharma.

Lumoxiti, which is being developed to treat hairy cell leukaemia (HCL), has the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, but is yet to be reviewed in Europe.

The multi-term agreement will also see the acquisition of a 9.8% equity stake in Innate Pharma by AstraZeneca through share issuance.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said: “Our expanded collaboration with Innate Pharma enables us to further strengthen our leadership in immuno-oncology, and to explore the potential of next-generation immuno-oncology pathways, together with the world-class scientific team of Innate.”

“Our expanded collaboration with Innate Pharma enables us to explore the potential of next-generation immuno-oncology pathways.”

As part of the expanded monalizumab alliance, AstraZeneca will pay $100m to Innate in the first quarter of next year. This payment is in addition to the financial terms agreed by the partners in 2015.

AstraZeneca will also pay $50m upfront for the development collaboration associated with Innate’s IPH5201. The company will also provide option exercise fee, milestones and royalties.

For the option to exclusively licence four preclinical molecules from Innate’s portfolio, AstraZeneca will offer $20m upfront.

AstraZeneca can exercise these options before the molecules advance into clinical development. If exercised, the company will have to pay option exercise fee, along with milestones and royalties.

Innate will hold the potential for co-promotion and profit sharing related to IPH5201 and the four preclinical molecules in the EU.

For Lumoxiti licence, Innate will make $50m upfront payment to AstraZeneca, which is also eligible for future commercial and regulatory milestone-based payments.