The National Institutes of Health said on Thursday it had partnered 11 biopharma companies to help advance a new class of drugs that uses the body's immune system to fight cancer.
The new class of immunotherapies, such as Roche's Tecentriq and Bristol-Myers' Opdivo, works by enlisting the body's defenses to fight the tumors.
Merck, whose Keytruda leads the fast-expanding field of immunotherapies, is not involved in the partnership.
The 11 partners would contribute up to $1 million each year for five years, while NIH would add about $160 million, based on availability of funds.
The partnership will be managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.