In the latest bid to speed cancer therapies from the lab to patients, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) and Bluebird Bio (BLUE) announced Monday they had reached a five-year deal to discover, develop, and market new treatments by combining their individual technologies.

The agreement, which will initially focus on a half-dozen targets, is a strategic gambit by each company to further expand their R&D operations in oncology, the hottest — and most competitive — field in the biopharmaceutical industry.

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