Takeda Pharmaceutical will partner with Cour Pharmaceutical Development to research and develop new immune modulating therapies against celiac disease, the companies said today.

The value of the collaboration was not disclosed.

Cour and Takeda said their partnership will use nanotechnologies based on Cour’s Tolerizing Immune Modifying nanoParticle (TIMP) platform. TIMPs consist of a proprietary polymer and antigenic proteins which are fully encapsulated for safety and administered intravenously.

The TIMP platform can be extended to certain autoimmune and allergic conditions by inhibiting the abnormal immune responses that cause disease, without affecting the beneficial parts of the immune system, according to Takeda and Cour.

The collaboration will explore the potential of TIMP therapy to allow celiac patients to tolerate gluten in their diet. TIMP compounds target the underlying cause of celiac disease by systemically targeting and controlling, gluten-reactive T-cells in patients, as opposed to broad immunosuppression.

Cour developed the TIMP platform with researchers Stephen Miller, Ph.D., of Northwestern University, and Lonnie Shea, Ph.D., a former Northwestern researcher now at University of Michigan.

Takeda agreed to pay Cour upfront money as well as payments tied to achieving milestones, leading to an exclusive option to acquire a global license to the TIMP-GLIA program after the completion of a Phase IIa clinical trial. Cour will also receive royalties on sales of commercialized products resulting from the partnership.

Takeda also has the option to collaborate with Cour on up to three additional TIMP compounds—each with development, regulatory, and sales milestones and royalties on sales.

Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

“In line with our GI drug discovery unit’s focus on building partnerships with groups developing highly novel therapeutic approaches to the treatment of GI diseases, we are excited to initiate this significant collaboration with Cour to create potential new and innovative therapies to meet the substantially unmet needs of these patients,” Gareth Hicks, Ph.D., head of Takeda’s Gastroenterology Drug Discovery Unit, said in a statement.

Gastroenterology is part of Takeda’s “general medicine” core therapeutic area. The pharma’s other core areas include cardiovascular and metabolic, central nervous system diseases, immunology and respirology, and oncology.