INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) has entered into a multiyear partnership with NextCure Inc. in Maryland. As part of the at least $40 million deal, the companies will work together on immuno-oncology therapies through NextCure's FIND-IO platform.

NextCure will receive $25 million from Lilly upfront, and will be eligible for milestone and royalty payments if Lilly can develop and commercialize new cancer therapies through the collaboration. The Indianapolis company has also made a $15 million equity investment in NextCure.

"The emerging field of immuno-oncology is offering new treatment options and hope to cancer patients," said Greg Plowman, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of oncology research at Lilly in a release. "Through this collaboration, we hope to leverage NextCure's discovery platform to expand the reach of this class of groundbreaking treatments by identifying novel cancer targets that could enable the development of a new generation of immuno-oncology therapies."

Lilly says it is not altering its earnings per share guidance as a result of the transaction.