Eli Lilly has entered a global licensing and research alliance with biotech firm Avidity Biosciences .

The companies aim to discover, develop and commercialise new therapeutics in indications such as immunology. The partnership will leverage Avidity’s technology platform to advance new therapeutic approaches into clinical development and commercialisation phases.

Avidity’s technology platform is designed to combine the tissue selectivity of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and the precision of medications to avoid challenges associated with oligonucleotide delivery.

Eli Lilly ribonucleic acid (RNA) therapeutics chief scientific officer Andrew Adams said: “We are excited to expand our oligonucleotide research and development efforts through this strategic collaboration with Avidity.

“Their expertise in studying the combination of monoclonal antibodies and oligonucleotide-based therapies represent a promising avenue of research toward development of new RNA-based medicines.”

“We are excited to expand our oligonucleotide research and development efforts through this strategic collaboration.”

Lilly will make an upfront payment of $20m as part of the deal, along with a $15m investment.

Avidity may also receive up to $405m when specific development, regulatory and commercialisation milestones are met. The company is also eligible for tiered royalties on product sales.

Avidity Biosciences chief business officer Kent Hawryluk noted: “This collaboration with Lilly provides an exceptional opportunity to leverage Avidity’s proprietary AOC platform in order to generate new therapeutic targets in disease areas that have been challenging to pursue using oligonucleotide-based approaches.”

In a separate development, Lilly has agreed to divest the Chinese distribution rights of its Ceclor and Vancocin antibiotics to speciality pharmaceutical firm Eddingpharm . The agreement also includes Lilly’s manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China.

Lilly will receive a deposit of $75m, followed by $300m when the deal is closed.

For a limited time, the company will offer ongoing services to Eddingpharm to support product supply continuity and facility transition.

All employees at the Ceclor manufacturing facility will be provided with an opportunity to continue at the facility and work with Eddingpharm.