Bayer HealthCare and Compugen have signed an oncology collaboration and license agreement to research, develop and commercialise a new cancer treatment.

The partnership is focused on antibody-based therapeutics for cancer immunotherapy, targeting two novel immune checkpoint regulators discovered by Compugen.

The Bayer HealthCare executive committee member and global drug discovery head professor Andreas Busch said the company is committed to translating the science of cancer research into effective therapies, helping people affected by cancer live longer and improve their quality of life.

"Antibody-based immunotherapies are promising approaches in oncology, which can stimulate the body’s own immune cells to fight cancer cells," Busch said.

"Immunotherapy is one of our focus areas in oncology research. We are looking forward to expanding our portfolio in this area through partnering with Compugen."

According to the deal, both organisations will jointly conduct a preclinical research programme, whereas Bayer will be responsible for further development and global commercialisation of potential cancer therapeutics.

Compugen will earn be an upfront payment of $10m and is eligible for more than $500m in potential milestone payments for both programmes, excluding milestone payments of up to $30m associated with preclinical activities.

Compugen will also be eligible to receive sales-based royalties of the products resulting from the collaboration.

Commenting on the partnership, Compugen president and CEO Dr Anat Cohen-Dayag said: "We believe that the prediction and validation of these two targets, through the use of our broadly applicable predictive discovery infrastructure, provides additional validation for our long-term commitment to establishing this unique capability."