Lilly spins off sepsis drug into a biotech start-up

Eli Lilly has inked a deal with a pair of investors--Care Capital and NovaQuest Capital--to spin off a sepsis drug into a new biotech in Indiana dubbed BioCritica which plans to build a pipeline of critical care meds. BioCritica gets Xigris--once billed as a likely blockbuster but now a longtime disappointment at Lilly--and "the rights to potentially acquire several critical care compounds currently in pre-clinical development at Lilly."

"We are pleased to announce the formation of a new life sciences company in Central Indiana, BioCritica. The collaboration between Lilly and BioCritica will benefit both companies, as well as the patients we serve and the Indianapolis community in which we operate," said John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., Lilly president, chairman and chief executive officer. "We are confident that BioCritica will help realize the full potential for Xigris, while working to develop new critical care medicines. We look forward to working with BioCritica to help ensure its success."

Xigris was considered one of Eli Lilly's brightest prospects in 2001, when the FDA approved it. But despite being the only approved drug for severe sepsis it never lived up to the blockbuster future Eli Lilly had planned.

According to their release the collaboration includes a supply agreement, a services pact and an option for BioCritica to potentially acquire the development and commercialization rights to Xigris outside the U.S. at a later date. In return, Lilly will receive royalties on future U.S. sales of Xigris and will also receive an equity stake in BioCritica. No financial terms were disclosed.

- here's the Lilly release

Special Report: Xigris - Pharma's Biggest Flops