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Lilly agrees two antibody deals

Signs agreements with Genmab and Arteaus Therapeutics
Eli Lilly HQ

Lilly has stepped up its efforts in antibody drug development with two deals agreed in the past two days.

On Monday, the US pharma company acquired the rights to an investigational migraine drug from the biotech Arteaus Therapeutics and today finalised a research collaboration with Denmark's Genmab.

The drug acquired from Arteaus is a calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antibody known as LY2951742. It works by inhibiting the activity of the neuropeptide CGRP, which plays a role in pain signalling in the body.

It has an interesting development history, initially being discovered by scientists at Lilly before being licensed to Arteaus for development in clinical proof-of-concept studies.

The drug has since demonstrated its effectiveness in the treatment of patients with frequent, recurrent migraine headaches during phase II trials, sparking Lilly's interest to acquire the drug for further development.

According to the company, the decision to license the molecule to Arteaus in 2011 was part of a risk-sharing strategy through the Capital Funds Portfolio.

This is an investment plan created by Lilly that comprises specific project-focused companies, financed by independent investors, which acquire early-stage molecules to develop through proof-of-concept rails and then offer rights to pharma companies if they show efficacy.

Arteaus is the first of the nine companies currently in the Capital Funds Portfolio to reach proof-of-concept studies.

“Through this strategy, independent investment firms and portfolio companies provide a unique way to access, share risks, and expand funding to develop molecules, such as the CGRP antibody, to help speed the delivery of timely valued medicines to patients who are waiting," said Dr Jan Lundberg, president, Lilly Research Laboratories.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Lilly said it would incur a related charge of $57m for the fourth quarter of 2013.

Genmab antibody development deal
Lilly also announced a research collaboration with Genmab to develop bispecific antibodies – antibodies that bind to two different epitopes, either on the same or different targets.

The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, will see Lilly make use of Genmab's DuoBody technology platform to create these bispecific antibodies, initially evaluating it in-house before deciding to enter a further commercial licence agreement.

Article by
Thomas Meek

14th January 2014

From: Research

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