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Eli Lilly and Company is partnering with Berkeley, California-based Aduro Biotech to discover small-molecule inhibitors of a protein called STING, which stands for stimulator of interferon genes. The STING pathway is involved in innate immunity. Several drug companies are developing activators of STING in hopes that boosting innate immunity will help the body fight cancer. Lilly wants to inhibit STING to treat autoimmune diseases in which the innate immune system is overactive. Aduro will earn $12 million up front and up to $620 million per developed product.
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