AbbVie is launching collaborations with two research institutions aimed at advancing cancer-focused research and discovery, the biopharma and its partners said today, continuing a series of efforts by the company to boost its oncology R&D.

The value was not disclosed for the 5-year collaborations, through which AbbVie will partner separately with The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and with the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Both institutions and AbbVie said they will work in several areas of oncology research, which could include, lung, colorectal, breast, prostate, and hematological cancers in addition to other areas.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Lurie Cancer Center will be allowed to access new therapies developed by AbbVie for preclinical research funded under the agreement. The researchers will work with AbbVie research teams under the agreements, which give AbbVie the option to obtain exclusive licenses for treatments discovered at both institutions through the collaborations.

Within each collaboration, joint steering committees consisting of representatives from each organization will determine the research projects to be undertaken. Researchers from AbbVie and the institutions agreed to discuss their joint research, and evaluate potential new projects, in annual symposia.

In July, AbbVie launched an oncology clinical partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb to assess combination treatments for relapsed, extensive-stage, small-cell lung cancer (SCLC)—including AbbVie's investigational biomarker-specific antibody drug conjugate Rova-T (rovalpituzumab tesirine), which the company added to its cancer pipeline in April when it agreed to acquire Stemcentrx for up to $9.8 billion cash and stock.

Also in April, AbbVie launched three cancer research collaborations. The company agreed to co-develop at least one CytomX Probody™ Drug Conjugate against CD71, also known as transferrin receptor 1, in an up-to-$500 million alliance with CytomX. AbbVie also agreed to develop and commercialize argenx’s preclinical cancer immunotherapy ARGX-15 in an up-to-$685 million partnership, and joined the University of Chicago in launching a collaboration intended to advance research in several areas of oncology.

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