Anima, Eli Lilly pen $1B-plus biobucks research pact

Eli Lilly
Lilly has signed the deal with early-stage biotech Anima (Eli Lilly)

Little-known private biotech Anima Biotech has signed a deal with Eli Lilly potentially worth more than $1 billion in biobucks as the pair seeks to work on the biotech’s translation inhibitors.

Caveats always abound on such deals with high numbers, as the vast majority of that big figure is backloaded; upfront, Anima sees just $30 million, with $14 million for R&D.

It could get $1.05 billion “if all future development and commercial milestones are achieved,” which, as ever, is a big if in this industry. Still, not a bad day’s work for a very early-stage biotech.

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Anima is focused on a new class of drugs that specifically control protein translation as a strategy against hard and undruggable targets.

 The biotech and Lilly will seek out translation inhibitors for several target proteins by using Anima's translation control therapeutics platform.

No more clinical detail was present in the pair’s release, except to say that the pact, which is ongoing for the next few years, is “structured as an exclusive collaboration around several undisclosed Lilly targets.”

For its part, Anima will use its tech platform to discover lead candidates that are translation inhibitors of the Lilly targets. Lilly, in turn, will be responsible for clinical development and selling any products coming out of the collaboration.

Yochi Slonim, Anima Biotech's co-founder and CEO, said: “We are excited to collaborate with Lilly in the discovery of new drugs for some of the world's most challenging diseases. Small molecule drugs work by binding to disease-causing proteins to modify their chemical activity, but most proteins lack accessible binding sites, and as result, many diseases remain without effective treatments.

“Anima's Translation Control Therapeutics platform is a new strategy against these undruggable target proteins. Rather than attempt to drug them after they are already made, we discover drugs that work one step before, by inhibiting (decreasing) or increasing the actual production by ribosomes of those proteins. This different approach is based on our novel science and patented technology and we believe it can lead to many new drugs.”

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