Blueprint Medicines has collaborated with Roche to accelerate and expand its development of novel medicines in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Both companies will discover, develop and commercialise up to five small molecule therapeutics as single products or possibly in combination with Roche’s portfolio of therapeutics to target kinases.

Immunokinases are intracellular targets that are believed to regulate numerous aspects of immune response and represent an important opportunity for potentially innovative approaches to enhance the immune system’s ability to recognise and eradicate tumour cells.

Blueprint will also receive an upfront cash payment of $45m and will be eligible to receive up to an additional $965m in contingent option fees and milestone payments, under an exclusive licence agreement signed with Roche.

"(These) payments are associated with the research, preclinical, clinical, regulatory and sales-based milestones across all five potential programmes."

These payments are associated with the research, preclinical, clinical, regulatory and sales-based milestones across all five potential programmes.

Blueprint Medicines will be responsible for preclinical research and conduct of clinical development for each programme, while Roche will be responsible for subsequent global development for that programme through registrational clinical trials.

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The partners will develop new mechanisms of modulating the tumour immune response by targeting immunokinases to enhance response rates, and broadening the utility of using cancer immunotherapies to treat additional cancer types.

For up to two of the five programmes, if Roche exercises its option, Blueprint Medicines will retain commercialisation rights in the US for the licensed product, and Roche will receive commercialisation rights outside of the US for such a licensed product.

Blueprint Medicines will also retain worldwide rights to any drug candidates, for which Roche elects not to exercise the applicable option.