French drugmaker Sanofi (SASY.PA) said on Tuesday it was committing up to $2.17 billion to a collaboration with its long-time partner Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN.O) in the hot area of cancer immunotherapy.

Sanofi will make an upfront payment of $640 million to Regeneron and the U.S. biotech company will get up to $375 million more if certain sales targets are hit. Sanofi will also invest more than $1 billion in research for the program, which aims to tap the body’s immune system to help fight cancer.

As part of the agreement, the two companies will jointly develop a programed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitor currently in Phase I clinical testing, and plan to start trials in 2016 with new drug candidates.



(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by David Clarke)

Source: Reuters