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Eli Lilly gains license from ImmuNext to develop drugs for autoimmune diseases

ImmuNext Inc. has provided Eli Lilly and Co. with an exclusive global license to develop and commercialize potential new therapies for autoimmune diseases.

The collaboration agreement will see Eli Lilly work with ImmuNext in advancing a treatment with the potential to alter metabolic pathways in the body to fight disease. The two companies will sign a three-year research collaboration to support the target's development.

Jay Rothstein, chief scientific officer of ImmuNext, said the companies will collaborate in the development of an antibody "that specifically targets the metabolism of lymphocytes to reprogram rather than suppress the immune system."

Lymphocytes help in protecting the body against bacteria or viruses by making proteins called antibodies. These cells are in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow and other parts of the body.

Under the terms of the agreement, ImmuNext will receive an up-front payment of $40 million and will be eligible to receive up to $565 million in development and commercialization milestones. In addition, ImmuNext will be eligible to receive royalties ranging from the mid-single to low double digits on product sales.

Eli Lilly said in a March 26 news release that the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. It also said there will be no change to its 2019 non-GAAP EPS guidance due to this transaction.