Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) and New-Hampshire based ImmuNext Inc. have announced a global licensing and research collaboration. As part of the agreement, Lilly and ImmuNext will establish a 3-year research partnership to support the development of potential new medicines for autoimmune diseases.

ImmuNext will receive an upfront payment of $40 million as part of the collaboration, and is eligible to receive nearly $565 million in development and commercialization milestones. ImmuNext will in turn give Lilly an exclusive global license to develop and commercialize the study.

"Immunology is an important area of research for Lilly, and we seek novel targets that could develop into new medicines for patients suffering with autoimmune diseases," said Ajay Nirula, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of immunology at Lilly. "Regulating the metabolism of immune cells is a promising approach to treating these diseases, and we look forward to working with ImmuNext to advance their immunometabolism target."