Transition, Lilly kill diabetes program after trial failure

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Transition Therapeutics' diabetes drug, which is partnered with Eli Lilly, has run straight off the cliff. CEO Dr. Tony Cruz announced this morning that the drug--one of two clinical-stage therapies--failed a key clinical trial in combination with Lilly's GLP-1 analogue and will be dumped from the pipeline. The news took a 23 percent bite out of Transition's share price (TTHI).

"While TT-223 has shown efficacy through development, these results indicate that it does not have the product profile for a diabetes therapy. We wish to acknowledge, our development partner, Lilly, and the many clinicians that have shown a deep commitment in working together with us on the development of TT-223," says Cruz, an experienced investigator whose Toronto-based biotech specializes in targeting major markets with experimental therapies partnered with Big Pharma.

In TT-223's case, Lilly paid $7 million upfront and proffered $130 million in milestones back in 2008. They were working on the belief that gastrin analogues--either alone or in combination with existing therapies--could play a key role in sustained glucose control for Type 2 diabetes patients.

Lilly and Transition are still working together, however. Earlier this year, Transition picked up a package of preclinical compounds from Lilly for a mere $1 million down, giving the big pharma company an option to get the programs back at a later stage of development if they prove promising enough. Transition and Elan are also partnered on an Alzheimer's therapy that is poised to go into a late-stage program.

- here's the Transition release for more info

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