April 24, 2015 / 4:20 PM / 4 years ago

Astrazeneca drug deal hoists Innate Pharma shares to record high

A man walks past a sign at an AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, central England May 19, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble

PARIS (Reuters) - Shares in Innate Pharma surged to a record high on Friday as investors cheered a deal with AstraZeneca to accelerate and broaden development of its immune-boosting anti-cancer medicines that could earn the French firm $1.275 billion.

Innate Pharma will receive an initial $250 million payment from AstraZeneca, which is collaborating with Medimmune to develop the French firm’s anti-NKG2A antibody, IPH2201 aimed at stimulating the body’s immune system to destroy cancer cells.

It is the most significant transaction ever by the Marseille-based biopharmaceutical company, worth about 700 million euros on the stock market even after Friday’s share price jump.

AstraZeneca is set to pay Innate Pharma up to $1.275 billion plus double-digit royalties on sales, a statement from the companies said.

Innate Pharma Chairman Herve Brailly said it marked “a phase of transformation” for his company.

Innate Pharma shares jumped as much as 57 percent to 14 euros on volumes of 10.7 million shares - 13.4 times its daily average over the last three months on Euronext.

Paris’ SBF120 index of actively traded stocks rose 0.34 percent.

Gilbert Dupont analyst Guillaume Cuvillier said the value of the deal surpassed his estimates of around 900 million euros, while Oddo analysts changed their recommendation on Innate Pharma to “buy” from “neutral”.

Reporting by Noelle Mennella; Writing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise; Editing by Andrew Callus

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