Eli Lilly $LLY is commissioning a small team in New Jersey to implement its unusual approach to drug discovery on a few of Lilly’s targets, paying out $30 million in an upfront fee plus some cash to get the research started.
The new partner is Anima Biotech, a tiny company that’s targeting disease-causing proteins way upstream with a new class of drugs. The company’s co-founder and CEO Yochi Slonim describes Anima’s platform tech this way:
Small molecule drugs work by binding to disease-causing proteins to modify their chemical activity but most proteins lack accessible binding sites and as result, many diseases remain without effective treatments. Anima’s Translation Control Therapeutics platform is a new strategy against these undruggable target proteins. Rather than attempt to drug them after they are already made, we discover drugs that work one step before, by inhibiting (decreasing) or increasing the actual production by ribosomes of those proteins. This different approach is based on our novel science and patented technology and we believe it can lead to many new drugs.
The exclusive collaboration is a multi-year agreement focusing on “several” undisclosed Lilly targets. The pharma giant is taking responsibility for any clinical development and commercialization that results from the collaboration.
On top of Anima’s $30 million upfront fee, it also got $14 million in research funding. Anima could receive up to $1.05 billion in future development and milestone payments, if all goals are achieved.
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