Monrovia-based biotechnology company Xencor Inc. signed a research and licensing agreement with Genentech Inc. valued at up to $280 million to develop a range of antibody drugs to battle cancer and other diseases. Genentech, a South San Francisco-based subsidiary of Roche Holding AG, of Switzerland, agreed to pay Xencor an initial $120 million plus up to $160 million for performance milestones to develop an IL-15 immunotherapy known as XmAb24306. The two companies also entered a two-year partnership in which Xencor would get up to $180 million in milestones for each new IL-15 drug candidate that uses Xencor’s antibody technology to stimulate an immune response to treat cancer and other illnesses. “This partnership with Genentech accelerates our immune-oncology work by enabling the exploration of novel XmAb24306 combinations with Genentech’s leading oncology portfolio and our growing internal pipeline of bispecific antibodies,” said Bassil Dahiyat, chief executive of Xencor, in a statement.

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