- GlaxoSmithKline agreed to offer Merck up to €3.7bn (£3.2bn) to form a partnership to develop an immonutherapy for the treatment of cancer.

The deal involved GSK making an upfront payment to Merck of €300m regarding the treatment, known as M7824.

The German group would also be eligible for potential development milestone payments of up to €500m triggered by data from an M7824 lung cancer programme.

Merck would then be eligible for further payments upon successfully achieving future approval and commercial milestones of up to €2.9bn.

Eight related immuno-oncology clinical development studies were either ongoing or expected to commence in 2019, including studies in non-small cell lung and biliary tract cancers.

'Despite recent medical advances, many patients with difficult-to-treat cancers don't currently benefit from immuno-oncology therapies leaving them with limited treatment options,' GSK chief scientific officer Hal Barron said.

'M7824 brings together two different biological functions in a single molecule and we have observed encouraging clinical results in treating certain cancer patients, particularly those people with non-small cell lung cancer.'

'I'm excited by the potential impact this first-in-class immunotherapy could have on the lives of cancer patients.'

At 1:28pm: [LON:GSK] GlaxoSmithKline PLC share price was +19.9p at 1499.9p

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