Lilly teams up with ImmuNext for developing drugs for autoimmune diseases

US pharma giant Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) and Lebanon-based ImmuNext have announced a global licensing and research collaboration for the development of drugs for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Under the partnership, the two pharma companies will focus on the study of a preclinical target that could lead to potential new drugs for autoimmune diseases by regulating immune cell metabolism.

Jay Rothstein – Chief Scientific Officer at ImmuNext, said: “We are pleased to work with Lilly to bring forward a first-in-pathway antibody that specifically targets the metabolism of lymphocytes to reprogram rather than suppress the immune system.”

Lilly, ImmuNext to co-develop drugs for autoimmune diseases
Lilly, ImmuNext to co-develop drugs for autoimmune diseases. Photo courtesy of Guanaco152003/

According to the terms of the agreement, ImmuNext will get an upfront payment of $40 million and is eligible to be paid up to $565 million in development and commercialization milestones. The Lebanon-based company will also receive tiered royalties in the range of mid-single to low-double digits based on product sales.

ImmuNext will grant Lilly an exclusive, global license to develop and commercialize the immunometabolism target. Apart from that, the two pharma companies will set up a three-year research collaboration to support the development of the immunometabolism target.

Ajay Nirula – vice president of immunology at Lilly said: “Immunology is an important area of research for Lilly, and we seek novel targets that could develop into new medicines for patients suffering with autoimmune diseases.

“Regulating the metabolism of immune cells is a promising approach to treating these diseases, and we look forward to working with ImmuNext to advance their immunometabolism target.”

The transaction will be closed after satisfying customary closing conditions.

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