Japanese drugmaker Astellas and Swiss biotech Anokion have hooked up in a deal worth $760 million to create a new US-based firm focused on developing novel immune tolerance therapeutics.

Kanyos Bio, which is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will initially work on clinical candidates for type I  diabetes and coeliac disease, although Astellas has the option to add a third autoimmune indication.

The firm will utilise Anokion’s tolerance-inducing technology shown to induce immune tolerance to protein drugs and autoimmune antigens in animal models, in an approach that the firm says “can be translated to virtually any protein in a myriad of clinical indications”. 

Astellas will provide non-dilutive research funding to Kanyos and holds an option to snap up the firm after reaching certain milestones, and will also take part in a $16 Million equity financing for new group alongside existing Anokion investors to secure some early cash.