Lilly research chief outlines the perfect biotech pact

If you've got a hot prospect in late-stage development that could start earning cash around, say, 2014, you might want to drop a line to Eli Lilly. Lilly's research chief, Jan Lundberg, says he's in the market for some near-term therapeutic prospects--the kind that can help the pharma giant bridge a looming patent cliff.

"Our company situation means we're particularly interested in late-stage opportunities that can be revenue-generating in 2014," Lundberg told Dow Jones as he helped celebrate the opening of a new cancer R&D center in New York. Case in point: The Alnara buyout, which was driven by the enzyme replacement therapy the biotech has up for an approval at the FDA.

Altogether Lundberg says that Lilly has looked at more than a thousand deals, but it's being very choosy about inking new pacts or buyouts. And the research chief says that it hasn't hurt that a lot of biotechs are hurting for money. Of course, a lot of biotechs with hot prospects in late-stage development aren't exactly dying from a lack of cash or interest from other Big Pharma groups.

The new R&D center hosts 140 scientists, an operation that was acquired in the 2008 buyout of ImClone. That deal gave Lilly two prospects which are now in late-stage development. 

- here's the story from Dow Jones