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Topas and Lily Are Partnering to Develop Therapies for Autoimmune Disorders, Such as MS

Topas Therapeutics and Eli Lilly and Company are teaming up to develop compounds that could be used to treat inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes.

The compounds, based on a Topas technology platform, will be aimed at restoring immune tolerance. Immune tolerance refers to the immune system being unresponsive to certain antigens — for instance, the body’s own proteins. Without immune tolerance, the body can generate an excessive immune response that prompts the immune system to attack healthy organs or tissue — a process called autoimmunity.

Under the multiyear agreement, Topas will receive research and development funding. It will also receive financial rewards from the success of any drug developed under the collaboration. The agreement will give Lilly the option to license all therapies created under the collaboration, and to develop them further.

“We are excited to be working with Lilly to generate drug candidates using our proprietary technology,” Timm Jessen, the CEO of Topas Therapeutics, said in a press release. “We expect this work to support the value of our approach” of triggering immune tolerance against antigens, he said. The fact that an important pharmaceutical company like Lilly is interested “in our technology, we believe, supports the strong commercial potential of our work.”


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