Cancer-fighting biotech Immutep (ASX:IMM) has risen off 10-year-long lows after flagging a payment of $7.4m from British pharma giant GSK.

Immutep shares got a 14 per cent boost to 2.5c, after closing at 2.2c on Friday. The share price has languished at lows of around 2c for the last couple of months, and has been a regular bottom for the company. The last time shares dipped below 2c was in early 2009, when the company was known as Prima BioMed.

The milestone payment will come through imminently, after GSK dosed the first patient in a phase II clinical trial evaluating GSK2831781 in ulcerative colitis.

GSK2831781 is derived from Immutep’s IMP731 antibody, a depleting anti-LAG antibody technology that was exclusively licensed to GSK.

Immutep is eligible to receive up to $118m in developmental milestone payments as well as single-digit tiered royalties, if GSK2831781 is commercialised. GSK is responsible for all costs associated with the clinical development and commercialisation of GSK2831781.

Marc Voigt, chief of Immutep, previously told Stockhead that while it was known for developing drugs in the cancer field, it also had a focus on autoimmune diseases. Ulcerative colitis can also put a patient at increased risk of developing colon cancer.

“It is very encouraging to see GSK advancing their product candidate in a phase II clinical trial for ulcerative colitis, further validating LAG-3 as a potential target for therapeutics in autoimmune diseases,” Voigt told investors today.

“These partner milestone payments are an important source of nondilutive funding to the company and this capital will be deployed to further advance our extensive development programs.”

Read more:

Japanese AI found a cancer vaccine and Immutep’s ‘efti’ drug has been chosen for the trials

Immutep shares are flying as Merck and Pfizer agree to test cancer drug

Revenue up but increased spending sends cancer fighter Immutep to $12.7m loss

In other ASX health news today:

US, Australian hospitals to test Optiscan (ASX:OIL) technology. The Melbourne Dental School is seeking ethics approval for a clinical trial intended to diagnose cancerous change in oral skin growth at the earliest possible stage, identifying new areas of abnormality or changes in previous oral lesions, using Optiscan’s technology.

Rhinomed (ASX:RNO) raises $6m. The nasal biotech has raised $6m from institutional and sophisticated investors to drive accelerated sales growth through current products, new product launches and significant store growth.

Keytone Dairy (ASX:KTD) receives second Chinese order. Walmart China has placed a second order for private label whole and skim milk powders from Keytone Dairy. KTD shares rose 11 per cent on the news, to 49c.