Eli Lilly enters $1.6B cancer research partnerships with Merus

Loxo Oncology, Eli Lilly's cancer-specific biotech unit, partnered with Dutch cancer drugmaker Merus Jan. 19 to develop three cancer antibody therapies in a deal amounting to $1.6 billion.

Eli Lilly will pay Merus $40 million up front in cash, as well as buy $20 million in Merus common shares as an equity investment. Under the deal, Merus is also eligible to receive up to $540 million in development and commercialization milestones per product, which could total up to $1.6 billion for the three antibody therapies.

The antibody therapies will be developed out of Merus’ Biclonics platform, which creates antibody therapies that engage CD3 cells and redirect T-cells.

"CD3-engaging bispecific antibodies are rapidly becoming one of the most transformative immune-modulating modalities used to treat cancer," Loxo Oncology COO Jacob Van Naarden said in a news release. "We expect these therapies will become an important component of the Loxo Oncology at Lilly biologics strategy."

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