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Lilly invests in antibody oligonucleotides conjugates with Avidity deal

Companies to develop new immonology medicines

Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly is aiming to develop new immunology drugs based on DNA/RNA molecules, and has enlisted the help of antibody oligonucleotide conjugates (AOC) specialist Avidity Biosciences.

Avidity's platform seeks to overcome the delivery challenges of oligonucleotides, RNA-targeting drugs which hold huge promise in reaching currently 'undruggable' targets.

However a big obstacle in the class is delivering oligonucleotides to the right site and with no safety problems - a conundrum Avidity is looking to solve by creating its antibody oligonucleotide conjugates (AOC).

It is teaming up with Lilly to discover, develop and potentially commercialise a host of new oligonucleotide medicines in immunology and others indications, which could include cardiovascular, liver, and muscle related diseases.

La Jolla, California-based Avidity is set to earn a total of $35m from this deal, will use its monoclonal antibody and oligonucleotide-combining tech to progress new therapeutic approaches into the clinic.

"We are excited to expand our oligonucleotide research and development efforts through this strategic collaboration with Avidity," said Andrew Adams, chief scientific officer for RNA therapeutics at Lilly.

"[Avidity's] expertise in studying the combination of monoclonal antibodies and oligonucleotide-based therapies represent a promising avenue of research toward development of new RNA-based medicines."

Lilly, will make an upfront payment of $20m, and will invest $15m into the programme, while Avidity could also gain up to $405m per target in a series of development and commercialisation milestones and royalties.

"This collaboration with Lilly provides an exceptional opportunity to leverage Avidity's proprietary AOC platform in order to generate new therapeutic targets in disease areas that have been challenging to pursue using oligonucleotide-based approaches," said Kent Hawryluk, Avidity's chief business officer.

"Lilly's extensive research, development, regulatory, and commercial capabilities make them an ideal partner, and we look forward to a long and productive relationship."

Biogen and Ionis has seen success with their oligonucleotide-based medicines Spinraza, which was approved in the US in 2016 to treat those with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare neurodegenerative disease.

That drug is an anti-sense oligonucleotide (ASO), which selectively binds and targets RNA and regulates gene expression.

Article by
Gemma Jones

23rd April 2019

From: Research

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