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AZ, Celgene Tackle Blood Cancer

AstraZeneca has entered into a $450 million agreement with Celgene that will permit the U.S.-based drug firm to develop MEDI4736, AstraZeneca’s immunotherapy treatment for blood cancer.

The agreement sent Celgene’s stock surging.

AstraZeneca officials say the deal is a way to get the drug to market faster, according to Reuters. Blood cancer treatments eventually will represent about 40 percent of the cancer market, according to AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soirot. He called the deal transformational and although the company would lose half of the profits on blood cancer treatments, AstraZeneca still will receive 50 percent of a better proposition, notes a article.

“Our strategic collaboration with Celgene, a leader in hematology, will maximize the potential of our immuno-oncology assets in the very important hematology indications.” Soirot said in a statement. AstraZeneca has done extensive work in solid tumors, but not blood cancers.

Terms of the agreement call for Celgene assuming responsibility for selling MEDI4736 in blood cancers and will pay AstraZeneca an initial royalty of 70 percent, which will decrease to approximately half of sales over a period of four years.

Celgene will also be in charge of global commercialization of approved treatments, according to For its part, AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and book all sales of MEDI4736 and pay a royalty to Celgene on worldwide sales in hematological indications.