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AstraZeneca with its global biologics research and development arm MedImmune has entered a co-development and commercialisation agreement with France-based Innate Pharma.

Under the deal, the companies will involve in the development of Innate Pharma’s proprietary anti-NKG2A antibody, IPH2201, including in combination with MEDI4736, an anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor developed by MedImmune.

As part of the deal, Innate Pharma will receive cash payments of up to $1.27bn, in addition to the double digit royalties on sales.

Innate Pharma co-founder and CEO Hervé Brailly said: “This agreement allows Innate Pharma to broaden and accelerate the development of IPH2201, while preserving our innovative development plan.”

Under the agreement, Innate Pharma will secure an initial payment of around $250m, including a consideration for the exclusive global rights to AstraZeneca to co-develop and commercialise IPH2201 in combination with MEDI4736 and access to IPH2201 in monotherapy and other combinations in certain areas.

Innate will also receive a further $100m prior to initiation of Phase III development and additional regulatory and sales-related milestones of up to $925m.

Initially, the development plans include Phase II combination clinical trials with MEDI4736 in solid tumours.

It will also comprise multiple Phase II trials planned by Innate to study IPH2201 both as monotherapy and in combination with currently approved treatments across a range of cancers and development of associated biomarkers.

AstraZenec CEO Pascal Soriot said: “We are pleased to collaborate with Innate Pharma to bring this prospective first-in-class treatment to cancer patients, further strengthening our broad immuno-oncology pipeline.”

Subject to customary terms and conditions, the transaction is expected to become effective in the second quarter of this year.

Image: AstraZeneca’s R&D site in Mölndal, Sweden. Photo: courtesy of Erik031.