Eli Lilly is teaming up with Anima Biotech in an exclusive collaboration to discover and develop translation inhibitors for several protein targets.

Under the multi-year deal, Anima will use its technology platform to discover lead candidates that are translation inhibitors of the undisclosed Lilly targets.

Lilly will be responsible for clinical development and commercialisation of products generated by the collaboration.

Anima will receive $30 million in upfront payments and $14 million in research funding, but could also receive up to $1.05 billion if all future development and commercial milestones are achieved.

In addition, the US biotech will bank low to mid single-digit tiered royalties on sales of any Lilly products resulting from the collaboration.

“We are excited to collaborate with Lilly in the discovery of new drugs for some of the world’s most challenging diseases,” said Yochi Slonim, Anima’s co-founder and chief executive.

Small molecule drugs bind to disease-causing proteins to modify their chemical activity, but most proteins lack accessible binding sites, leaving many diseases without effective treatment.

Rather than attempt to drug these target proteins after they are already made, Anima says its Translation Control Therapeutics platform can discover drugs that work one step before, by inhibiting or increasing the actual production of those proteins.

“This different approach is based on our novel science and patented technology and we believe it can lead to many new drugs,” Slonim said.