Days after Alexion deal, Dicerna pens $100M upfront RNAi research pact with Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly
This is the second deal for Dicerna in the past week (Eli Lilly)

Fresh off a deal with Alexion last week, Dicerna has started off this week with another deal: This time with Eli Lilly.

The U.S. biopharma becomes the latest to hitch its wagon to Dicerna’s RNAi tech platform, known as GalXC (think: galaxy), with the focus being on researching and, they hope, bringing approval to drugs targeting “cardio-metabolic disease, neurodegeneration and pain,” according to a statement.

The deal is worth $100 million upfront, another $100 million as an equity investment “at a premium,” with $350 million on the table in biobucks, as well as a percentage of any future sales.

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Under the deal, Dicerna works exclusively with Lilly using the former’s gene-silencing tech. Both see a research future focusing on “more than 10 targets.”

Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly senior vice president and CSO, says: “We are excited to collaborate with Dicerna and utilize their RNAi expertise to study targets that up until now have proven to be very technically challenging. RNAi has the potential to treat an array of diseases that are of strategic importance to Lilly. Together with Dicerna, we aim to employ this emerging modality for greater success in drug development.”

RELATED: Alexion buys RNAi therapies in Dicerna deal

This has been a good week for Dicerna, as this deal comes off the back of another tie-up with Alexion. Under that early-stage deal, worth $22 million upfront with extra in biobucks, Alexion plans to advance RNAi therapies that block production of complement pathway factors.

In doing so, Alexion thinks it can stop the uncontrolled complement activation that underpins many diseases, including its key indication: paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.

Douglas Fambrough, Ph.D., president and CEO of Dicerna, adds: “Lilly, with its demonstrated leadership in each of these fields, is an ideal partner for extending the range of Dicerna's proprietary GalXC technology, which is designed to silence the expression of disease-driving genes. We are eager and ready to expand and advance our pipeline of innovative GalXC-based therapies, including both proprietary and partnered programs.”