AstraZeneca said on Tuesday it would acquire Neogene Therapeutics, a developer of cell-based cancer treatments, for up to $320 million, as the London-listed drugmaker seeks to bolster its oncology portfolio.

Most cell-based cancer treatments involve drawing the body's own immune cells and processing them in the lab to target and kill cancer cells.

But Neogene's approach goes one step further in that its T-cell receptor (TCR) therapies seek to target not just certain proteins on the surface of cancer cells but mutations in the DNA that are specific to tumours.

"Neogene's leading TCR discovery capabilities and extensive manufacturing experience complement the cell therapy capability we have built over the last three years," said Susan Galbraith, executive vice president of oncology research at AstraZeneca.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker will make an initial payment of $200 million to Neogene, with an up to $120 million in milestone payments. (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Dhanya Ann Thoppil)