Nimbus Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company that’s drawn attention for its work on a new kind of inflammatory disease drug, is partnering with Eli Lilly to explore treatments for metabolic diseases.
Through the collaboration, announced Tuesday, Nimbus will research drugs targeting an enzyme called AMPK. When activated, AMPK helps regulate energy and metabolism in cells. The companies see targeting specific isoforms, or variants, of AMPK, as a promising approach to treating metabolic diseases.
“AMPK is a high-value target for the treatment of metabolic diseases, and drug developers have faced challenges for many years in identifying isoform-selective AMPK activators for tissue-specific therapeutic interventions,” Peter Tummino, Nimbus’ chief scientific officer, said in a statement.
Nimbus’ work on AMPK is less further along than its research on a drug targeting another enzyme called TYK2 that’s currently in Phase 2 testing. The company raised $125 million in funding last month to further advance its work on the treatment, which works similarly as Bristol Myers Squibb’s new psoriasis drug Sotyktu.
Eli Lilly isn’t the first large pharmaceutical company to work with Nimbus. Most notably, the biotech previously partnered with Celgene prior to that company’s acquisition by Bristol Myers and with Gilead.
Under the Lilly deal, Nimbus will handle research, while Lilly will hold responsibility for development and commercializing any treatment that succeeds in testing. The biotech will receive payments and funding spread across different milestones that could add up to $496 million in total.