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The companies will develop up to three CD3-engaging T-cell redirecting bispecific antibody therapies using Merus' proprietary Biclonics platform.
Loxo Oncology at Lilly, a research and development group of Eli Lilly and Company, and Merus, a Netherlands-based clinical-stage oncology company, announced on Jan. 19, 2021 that they are entering into a research collaboration and exclusive license agreement to research and develop up to three CD3-engaging T-cell redirecting bispecific antibody therapies using Merus' proprietary Biclonics platform for up to $1.6 billion.
Through the agreement, Merus will receive an upfront cash payment of $40 million, an equity investment by Lilly of $20 million, and $540 million in potential development and commercialization milestones per product, Eli Lilly said in a company press release. Merus will handle the discovery and early-stage research activities of the products, while Loxo Oncology at Lilly will lead additional research, development, and commercialization activities.
"CD3-engaging bispecific antibodies are rapidly becoming one of the most transformative immune-modulating modalities used to treat cancer. We expect these therapies will become an important component of the Loxo Oncology at Lilly biologics strategy," said Jacob Van Naarden, chief operating officer of Loxo Oncology at Lilly, in the press release. "Merus has built a differentiated platform and one that we believe can enable us to create bispecific antibody therapies with wider therapeutic indexes than those available today. We look forward to working closely with Merus to develop new potential medicines for patients with cancer."
"The collaboration with Loxo Oncology at Lilly and their world class research capabilities opens up exciting possibilities for Merus' Biclonics platform," added Bill Lundberg, MD, president and CEO at Merus, in the press release. "Our CD3 T-cell engager platform includes over 175 novel and diverse anti-CD3 common light chain antibodies across a wide range of affinities and attributes and enables functional screening of large libraries for optimal performance. We look forward to working together with Loxo Oncology at Lilly to define a new generation of medicines to treat cancer."
Source: Eli Lilly