Eli Lilly, Avidity Biosciences ink deal to collaborate on antibody oligonucleotide conjugates for immunology, other indications

Eli Lilly and Avidity Biosciences on Monday announced a global licensing and research partnership to develop antibody oligonucleotide conjugates for use in immunology and other indications. As part of the deal, Avidity will receive an upfront payment of $20 million plus an investment of $15 million, and is also eligible for up to about $405 million per target in development and commercialisation milestones, in addition to tiered royalties ranging from the mid-single to low-double digits on product sales. 

According to the companies, Avidity's platform combines the "tissue selectivity of monoclonal antibodies and precision of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics" to overcome barriers to oligonucleotide delivery and target genetic drivers of disease. 

Andrew Adams, chief scientific officer for RNA therapeutics at Eli Lilly, suggested the technology "[represents] a promising avenue of research toward development of new RNA-based medicines." Meanwhile, Avidity's chief business officer Kent Hawryluk said leveraging the platform will help Eli Lilly to "generate new therapeutic targets in disease areas that have been challenging to pursue using oligonucleotide-based approaches." 

Eli Lilly indicated that it does not anticipate having to adjust its earnings-per-share guidance for 2019 as a result of the transaction. 

Also on Monday, Eli Lilly reported positive top-line results for its IL-17A inhibitor Taltz (ixekizumab) in a Phase III trial of patients with non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis. 

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