Novartis has signed a deal with Hybridon, which develops compounds based on DNA chemistry, to discover and ultimately commericalise new asthma and allergy treatments.

Specifically, the firms aim to discover and develop toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) drug candidates based on Hybrion’s proprietary immune modulatory oligonucleotide technology platform. The US firm says that toll-like receptors are generally recognised as the gateways to immune modulation and are potentially useful in a variety of disease, including asthma, allergy, cancer and infectious diseases.

The agreements are structured in two phases. During the research collaboration phase, Hybridon and Novartis will work together to evaluate novel IMOs, which Novartis can select for further development. The Swiss firm will fund substantially all research activities and make various payments to Hybridon, which could total up to $136 million plus royalties.