Gilead Sciences has entered a collaboration and licensing agreement with EVOQ Therapeutics to advance the latter’s technology and develop immunotherapies to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus.

Under the deal terms, the two companies will work together to advance the preclinical development of RA and lupus immunotherapies.

Gilead will be responsible for the clinical development and commercialisation and holds the rights to exclusively license the NanoDisc technology of EVOQ for the product candidates.

EVOQ’s technology has been designed for lymph-targeted disease-specific antigen delivery.

It uses a NanoDisc that is optimised to provide antigens for restoring immune tolerance.

Gilead Research executive vice-president Flavius Martin said: “Despite key advances over the past two decades, there remains a significant unmet need for people living with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

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“We are excited to collaborate with EVOQ to further expand our autoimmune pipeline with the goal of addressing the needs of people living with these conditions.”

According to the agreement, EVOQ will potentially receive an upfront payment of up to $658.5m, along with option exercise and milestone payments across all programmes.

The company will also receive tiered royalties on sales of the product.   

EVOQ CEO William Brinkerhoff said: “Gilead has an incredible track record in therapeutic development and delivering innovative medicines to people around the world.

“We look forward to working with the Gilead team to advance new treatment options for RA and lupus patients.”

The company is working to advance a disease-specific immune modulators pipeline for treating autoimmune diseases.

Recently, Gilead Sciences and Jounce Therapeutics amended their existing license deal for GS-1811 (formerly JTX-1811).