Local drugmaker MEI Pharma has agreed to pay $2.9 million upfront to Presage Biosciences for exclusive global rights to a potential new drug.

The drug candidate is voruciclib, an anti-cancer compound for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Under the agreement, MEI will get rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize the drug.

After the upfront payments, MEI might pay out up to $181 million to Presage upon the achievement of certain development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. Presage would also get mid-single-digit tiered royalties on net sales.

MEI describes the drug as a selective cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor, a class of drugs used to treat certain cancers by preventing the cancer cells from proliferating. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already approved two CDK inhibitors, palbociclib (Ibrance) and ribociclib (Kisqali), which are used to treat certain types of breast cancer.

MEI is an oncology company developing new therapies for cancer. The company’s lead drug candidate, Pracinostat, is in late-stage trials to treat acute myeloid leukemia.