Lilly and ImmuNext Announce Licensing and Research Collaboration

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Worth up to $605 million, the collaboration will focus on studying a preclinical novel target that could lead to potential new treatments for autoimmune diseases.

On March 26, 2019, Eli Lilly and ImmuNext, a developer of immunotherapy compounds for cancer and autoimmune diseases, announced a global licensing and research collaboration worth up to $605 million focused on studying a preclinical novel target that could lead to potential new treatments for autoimmune diseases by regulating immune cell metabolism.

Under the terms of the agreement, ImmuNext will receive an upfront payment of $40 million, and is eligible to receive up to approximately $565 million in development and commercialization milestones, as well as tiered royalties ranging from the mid-single to low-double digits on product sales. In return, ImmuNext will grant Lilly an exclusive, worldwide license to develop and commercialize the novel immunometabolism target. In addition, the companies will establish a three-year research collaboration to support the target's development. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

Currently, ImmuNext has a clinical-stage program with VISTA, a checkpoint regulator, and preclinical programs focused on the development of antibodies that target novel immuno-metabolic proteins.

"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," said Ajay Nirula, MD, PhD, vice-president of immunology at Lilly, in a company press release. "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."


"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," said Jay Rothstein, chief scientific officer at ImmuNext, in the release.

Source: Eli Lilly