Eli Lilly in Immunology Pact with Sitryx
Eli Lilly has formed an exclusive global licensing and research partnership in immunology with UK biopharma Sitryx. The collaboration is focused on regulating cell metabolism to develop disease-modifying therapeutics in immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation.
Under the terms of the transaction, which Sitryx said is “transformational” for the company, the Oxford-based firm will receive an upfront payment of $50 million from Lilly. In addition, the pharma giant will make an equity investment of $10 million in Sitryx, which will also be eligible to receive potential development milestones of up to $820 million as well as commercialization milestones and royalty payments on potential sales in the mid- to high-single digits.
In return, Sitryx will grant Lilly an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize up to four novel immunometabolism-targeted therapies, including two of its lead projects. The partners will establish a five-year research collaboration to support development with Sitryx responsible for drug discovery and Lilly funding and managing clinical development and commercialization.
“As Lilly seeks to develop new and unique medicines for people suffering with autoimmune diseases, we are actively exploring a variety of scientific approaches both in our own labs and with external partners,” said Ajay Nirula, Lilly’s vice president of immunology, who added that regulating the metabolism of immune cells is a “promising approach.”
The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions.
Sitryx said it has a pipeline of projects at multiple stages of drug discovery. The firm raised funds of $30 million in October 2018 from a syndicate of specialty international healthcare investors that included major UK drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.