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Lilly signs $570m deal for next-gen Humalog

Licenses improved version of its insulin blockbuster from Adocia
Lilly

Eli Lilly has licensed an improved version of its big-selling inulin product Humalog from French company Adocia in a deal valued at up to $570m.

Adocia and Lilly will work together on a version of Humalog U100 (insulin lispro) based in the French company's BioChaperone technology, which is designed to protect proteins from breakdown in the body and improve their absorption in the body.

The two companies had an earlier agreement for a BioChaperone version of Humalog that was abandoned in 2011 after Lilly decided to focus its attention elsewhere, reportedly on the back of a difference of opinion over the direction of the programme.

Adocia pressed on with the project independently however and - in trials reported in September - reported that BioChaperone lispro exhibited a significantly faster onset of action compared to Humalog.

According to Adocia the drug more closely mimicked the endogenous insulin secretion observed in healthy individuals in response to a meal, prompting chief executive Gerard Soula to say that the results "support the best-in-class potential of BioChaperone lispro among prandial insulins".

Lilly clearly agrees, and is paying Adocia an upfront fee of $50m for rights to the candidate with potential regulatory milestone payments of $280m along with commercial milestones of up to $240m, as well as royalties on sales.  Lilly said it will also reimburse Adocia for R&D expenses related to BioChaperone lispro.

Potential benefits of BioChaperone lispro include "greater flexibility in the timing of insulin injections, lower variability of post-meal blood glucose elevations, lower rates of hypoglycaemia and better overall glucose control", said the company in a statement.

Meanwhile, Humalog remains a massive product for Lilly, with sales in the first nine months of the year rising 10% to $2.05bn despite the loss of compound patent protection for the drug in the US last year. The company is holding up well because no biosimilar versions of the drug have yet been approved in either the US or Europe, although Mylan said last year it is working on a biosimilar version of the drug.

Lilly recently secured EU approval for a new high-dose pen formulation of Humalog for use by diabetics who need more than 20 units of rapid-acting insulin a day to control their blood sugar.

The Humalog U200 product has been held up in the US but is expected to be re-submitted by the end of the year. Meanwhile, a BioChaperone version of the U200 formulation is also in the pipeline, along with an even higher (U300) dose, according to Adocia and Lilly.

Article by
Phil Taylor

22nd December 2014

From: Research

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