Lilly, NextCure Partner on Immuno-Oncology Medicines

Nov 07, 2018
By Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

On Nov. 5, 2018, Eli Lilly and Company and NextCure, a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing immunotherapy-based biologics for cancer and other diseases, announced a multi-year collaboration focused on the discovery and development of immuno-oncology therapies. The companies aim to discover novel cancer targets using NextCure's proprietary FIND-IO platform. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly and NextCure will each receive options to exclusively license antibodies resulting from the collaboration. NextCure will receive an upfront payment of $25 million and will be eligible for development and commercial milestones and royalty payments, should Lilly successfully develop and commercialize new cancer therapies resulting from the collaboration. Additionally, Lilly has made a $15-million equity investment in NextCure. 

The FIND-IO platform is designed to identify novel cell-surface molecular interactions that drive functional immune responses in the tumor microenvironment and other disease sites. NextCure has developed proprietary approaches to assess immune pathways in primary immune cells and established cell lines from immune lineages, including T cells, natural killer cells, macrophages, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, dendritic cells, and cancer cells. NextCure is using the technology to identify targets that impact immune function, addressing the major challenge of supplying next-generation immuno-medicines for patients that do not respond to current cancer therapies, according to Lilly.

"The emerging field of immuno-oncology is offering new treatment options and hope to cancer patients," said Greg Plowman, MD, PhD, vice-president of oncology research at Eli Lilly, in a company press release. "Through this collaboration, we hope to leverage NextCure's discovery platform to expand the reach of this class of groundbreaking treatments by identifying novel cancer targets that could enable the development of a new generation of immuno-oncology therapies." 

Source: Eli Lilly and Company 

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