Two-year-old biopharmaceutical firm Sitryx has signed a global licensing and research deal with global healthcare giant Eli Lilly that is potentially worth $820 million and could lead to new medicines for autoimmune diseases.
Under the agreement Oxford-based Sitryx, which develops disease-modifying therapeutics in immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation, receives initial funding totalling $60 million, and will be eligible for potential development milestones worth up to $820 million, as well as royalty payments on potential sales.
In return, Sitryx is granting Lilly an exclusive, worldwide license to develop and commercialise up to four novel immuno-metabolism targeted therapeutics, including its two lead projects. To develop the therapeutics a five-year research collaboration is established between the two firms, with Sitryx responsible for drug discovery, and Lilly funding and managing the clinical development and commercialisation phases.
“We are excited to partner with Lilly, one of the global leaders in the field of immunology, to pursue the discovery of novel targets and the development of innovative therapies for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases in the fast-emerging area of immunometabolism,” said Neil Weir, PhD, chief executive officer of Sitryx. “This agreement is transformational for Sitryx and further validates the strength of our scientific expertise and that of our Founder network and the potential for Sitryx to become a leader in this field.”
Sitryx is based at Oxford Science Park and was founded in 2018 with $30 million Series A funding from an international syndicate of specialist investors including SV Health Investors, Sofinnova Partners, Longwood Fund and GSK. The company’s founders have made breakthroughs in understanding how critical energetic status is to the behaviour of immune cells as well as in the broader field of immunology.
Ajay Nirula, M.D., PhD, vice president of immunology at Lilly, said: “As Lilly seeks to develop new and unique medicines for people suffering with autoimmune diseases, we are actively exploring a variety of scientific approaches both in our own labs and with external partners. Regulating the metabolism of immune cells is a promising approach to treating these diseases, and we look forward to working with the talented researchers at Sitryx to advance their novel immuno-metabolism targets.”