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AnnArbor.com is reporting that Lycera, a University of Michigan spin off company, has reached a research agreement with Merck .  In an announcement, the companies said they’d work together to “discover, develop and commercialize small molecules that target T-helper 17 (Th17) cells, key mediators of inflammation. The collaboration will focus on developing drug candidates that have the potential to treat major autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.”

Lycera is a tenant at the Michigan Life Science Innovation Center, Ann Arbor SPARK’s life science incubator.