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Lilly partners with Biolojic Design to develop diabetes antibody therapies

Agreement could be worth up to $121m in milestone payments

Eli Lilly has signed a research collaboration and license agreement worth up to $121m with Biolojic Design to discover and develop an antibody-based therapy for diabetes.

The agreement will utilise Biolojic’s AI-based platform to discover a multi-specific antibody or ‘multi-body’ – a human antibody that is computationally engineered to bind two or more targets at each of its arms.

By ‘fine tuning’ the affinity and respective competition of the two targets, Lilly/Biolojic are aiming to produce therapies with differential activities.

Lilly did not disclose the specific targets that will be studied as part of the collaboration.

"Our AI-based platform designs single and multi-specific antibodies, or multi-bodies, that we believe can precisely target predefined epitopes to potentially execute novel biological programmes not previously possible with conventional antibodies," said Yanay Ofran, chief executive officer of Biolojic.

"Although our internal pipeline is focused on computationally designed antibodies for use in oncology and autoimmune disease, we are excited to partner with Lilly and apply our platform to design potential therapies for diabetes,” he added.

As part of the agreement, Lilly will pay research fees associated with the collaboration, while Biolojic could receive up to a total of $121m in potential development and commercialisation milestones, as well as a promissory note that may be convertible into Biolojic equity in the future.

In addition, Biolojic could receive tiered royalties in the low- to mid-single digits on product sales, depending on if Lilly successfully commercialises a therapy resulting from the collaboration.

"Lilly continues to seek out novel methods for developing new medicines, and Biolojic's multi-specific antibody platform is a promising approach," said Ruth Gimeno, vice president of diabetes and metabolic research at Lilly.

"We look forward to working closely with the scientific team at Biolojic and leveraging their expertise to discover and develop a potential antibody-based therapy for people with diabetes,” she added.

Diabetes is among Lilly’s core areas of focus, and the company has a number of drugs in the pipeline in this therapy area.

Among these is tirzepatide, which recently yielded positive results in a head-to-head trial against Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide in type 2 diabetes.

Tirzepatide demonstrated superiority compared to semaglutide in all doses tested, with the highest dose – 15mg – reducing A1C by 2.46% and body weight by 13.1%.

The lowest dose of tirzepatide – 5mg – also reduced A1C by 2.09% and body weight by 8.5% compared to semaglutide, which had reductions of 1.86% and 6.7% respectively.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

9th March 2021

From: Research

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