GlaxoSmithKline have agreed to contribute$44 million plus royalties to EUSA Pharma Inc for the worldwide rights to the company's pre-clinical antibody aimed at treating lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis, affecting about one in 100 people.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body's defence mechanisms go into action when there's no threat and start attacking the joints and sometimes other parts of the body. It's not yet known why the immune system acts in this way in some people.
Glaxo agreed to fund future development, production and marketing of the antibody as part of the licensing deal.
The human antibody, called OP-R003, targets a protein called interleukin-6. EUSA has previously sought to develop it as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and lymphoma.
Fully human therapeutic antibodies avoid the use of animal material to reduce the risk of any adverse patient reactions. A number of companies are looking at treatments involving the interleukin-6 protein.