(Reuters) – German biopharmaceutical firm Immatics said on Thursday it plans to collaborate with British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop immunotherapies targeting multiple cancer indications, with a focus on solid tumours.

The companies will develop and commercialize T-cell receptor therapies (TCR-Ts), using Immatics’ proprietary technology, with the German company primarily responsible for development and validation of the treatments and GSK looking into worldwide development.

T-cell receptors (TCRs) are a class of compounds that make it easier for the body’s immune cells to identify and destroy cancer cells, while TCR-Ts detect targets both inside and outside the cancer cells.

The deal underscores GSK’s development work on cell and gene therapies against solid tumours, while the wider industry’s focus has been mainly on blood cancer.

Immatics will get an upfront payment of $50 million for two initial programs under the agreement and is eligible to get more than $550 million in further payments.

In October 2018 the British drugmaker entered a five-year collaboration with Lyell Immunopharma, another private biotechnology company that focuses on developing engineered T-cells targeting common solid tumours.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)