Citing regulatory changes, San Diego’s Tocagen licensed its immunotherapy for commercialization in China, earning the company $16 million upfront and potentially much more.

Under the deal, Chinese firm ApolloBio will take over development and commercialization of Tocagen’s Toca 511 & Toca FC, a combo therapy in a pivotal Phase 3 trial internationally. The immunotherapy treats recurrent high-grade glioma, a group of deadly brain tumors that include glioblastoma.

ApolloBio will pay Tocagen $16 million upfront, and potentially $4 million in near-term development milestones. Tocagen will be eligible for future payments of up to $111 million, dependent on development and commercial milestones. In addition, net sales royalty payments could flow to Tocagen.

“ApolloBio is well positioned to leverage China’s recent regulatory changes supporting the development of innovative new treatments,” said Tocagen CEO Marty Duvall. “ApolloBio brings valuable regional expertise in product development, regulation and health care access, positioning our lead product to advance towards patients in the greater China region as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

The deal covers the greater China region, including mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as Taiwan.

In 2018, new diagnoses of high-grade glioma are expected to hit 180,000 worldwide and about 47,000 in the greater China region.

A year ago, Tocagen raised $97.8 million in an upsized initial public offering.