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Lilly (LLY) Signs New Immunology Deal With Private Biotech

Zacks Equity Research

Eli Lilly & Company LLY announced an exclusive global licensing and research collaboration with small private biotech, ImmuNext, Inc. to advance the latter’s preclinical novel target that has the potential to be developed into new medicines to treat autoimmune diseases. These medicines will work by regulating the metabolism of immune cells and is being considered a promising approach to treat autoimmune diseases.

ImmuNext will get an upfront payment of $40 million while being eligible to receive up to approximately $565 million in development and commercialization milestone payments as well as royalties on future product sales. ImmuNext has similar collaboration deals with other big pharma companies like Roche and Sanofi SNY.

Lilly’s stock has risen 13.2% this year so far compared with 3.7% increase for the industry.


Lilly has been quite active in terms of buyouts and collaboration deals in the past year. In February 2019, Lilly acquired small cancer biotech, Loxo Oncology, Inc., for $8 billion in cash. The deal will broaden Lilly’s cancer portfolio into targeted medicines by adding Loxo’s newly approved marketed drug Vitrakvi as well as three precision medicines to its pipeline for multiple tumor types. In addition, with the acquisition of California-based immuno-oncology biotech, ARMO Biosciences in June 2018, Lilly added pancreatic cancer candidate, pegilodecakin, to its pipeline.

Lilly also announced several business development transactions in 2018, including a licensing agreement which Chugai Pharmaceuticals for an oral GLP-1 agonist; a licensing and research collaboration with Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, utilizing its RNAi technology platform and a deal to acquire a promising pre-clinical pain candidate from private biotech, Hydra Biosciences.

Its other important collaborations include one with NextCure Inc., to make novel immuno-oncology cancer therapies; with Aduro Biotech, Inc. ADRO to develop new immunotherapies for autoimmune and other inflammatory diseases; and with Swiss biotech AC Immune SA ACIU to jointly develop Morphomer tau aggregation inhibitors, which have the potential to treat Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Lilly currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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