Four research institutions today said they had formed a consortium aimed at discovering and developing new cancer therapeutics and diagnostics through collaborations with Celgene valued at a combined $50 million.

Celgene has inked 10-year partnerships with each of the consortium’s four institutions—The Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Celgene has agreed to pay each institution $12.5 million for the option to enter into future development and commercialization agreements for novel cancer therapeutics created through the consortium.

Over the next 10 years, Celgene said, the institutions intend to present the biotech giant with “multiple high-impact research programs” aimed at developing new therapeutics. Each program has the potential to be valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, Celgene added, should the company agree to opt in and license the resulting technologies.

“We remain firmly committed to driving critical advances in cancer and believe the tremendous expertise of our collaboration partner institutions will be invaluable in identifying new therapies for cancer patients,” Celgene Executive Chairman Bob Hugin said in a company statement announcing the consortium.

The consortium said it hopes to draw upon long-standing professional relationships among the directors of the cancer centers, as well as the depth and breadth of the institutions’ combined research and clinical infrastructures. The institutions care for more than a combined 30,000 new cancer patients each year, and have nearly 800 faculty members who are active in basic and clinical research, and clinical care.

The four consortium members are among the 69 institutions designated as Cancer Centers by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The four established the consortium through The Cancer Trust, a nonprofit organization.

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