Transgenic animal developer GenPharm International, Inc. saidWednesday it will collaborate with Eli Lilly & Co. to develophuman monoclonal antibodies for targeted cancer therapy.

Lilly's equity investment in GenPharm will add up to "lessthan 5 percent ownership" says Howard Rosen, GenPharm'sdirector of corporate communications. GenPharm of MountainView, Calif., will receive research and benchmark paymentsfrom Lilly, as well as royalties on the resulting products.

For its part, Indianapolis, Ind.-based Lilly will garner exclusiveworldwide manufacturing and marketing rights for theproducts. While neither company will disclose the deal'sfinancial details, Lilly spokeswoman Gina Christianson toldBioWorld,"We anticipate this to be a long-term agreement."

GenPharm's transgenic mice are capable of making a variety ofhuman antibodies. They contain sequences for humanimmunoglobulin genes that can recombine when challengedwith a particular antigen to form a specific antibody.

These antibodies are of the IgG and IgM classes, explainsGenPharm's Rosen, but he says "the technology is generalenough that it would be straightforward to develop mice thatmake other classes (such as IgA.)"

Lilly will add its proprietary drug-targeting technology to thecancer-antigen-specific monoclonals to form antibody-drugconjugates. "GenPharm's unique technology provides additionaltools for Lilly's cancer research program," Lilly's Christiansonsaid.

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