Cancer specialist Celgene has agreed a research collaboration with immuno-oncology start-up Jounce Therapeutics. Celgene will pay $225 million (£170 million) up front and invest $36 million in the company’s shares. Jounce will then be eligible for up to $2.3 billion in performance milestone payments as well as royalties on any eventual products.

Under the terms of the deal, the companies will collaborate to develop Jounce’s range of what it calls ‘next-generation’ immunotherapies for cancer. Celgene will also have the option to take on a share of profits (or losses) from any commercialised products.

In the meantime, existing cancer immunotherapies keep breaking down treatment barriers. After securing multiple approvals for its antibody treatments Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab), Bristol-Myers Squibb is teaming up with AbbVie for a clinical trial of combinations of these two drugs with AbbVie’s investigational antibody-drug conjugate Rova-T (rovalpituzumab tesirine).