Eli Lilly taps Halozyme in an $825M delivery deal

Halozyme CEO Helen Torley

Eli Lilly ($LLY) has joined Halozyme's ($HALO) stable of Big Pharma collaborators, recruiting the company for its drug delivery expertise in a deal worth up to $825 million.

Under the agreement, Lilly is paying $25 million up front to option Halozyme's Enhanze technology, which uses the enzyme hyaluronidase to break down bodily barriers and allow for the subcutaneous injection of treatments that might otherwise require infusion. The deal covers up to 5 collaboration projects, and Lilly is committing as much as $160 million in milestone payments to each one, plus mid-single-digit royalties if any reach the market.

For Halozyme, the Lilly partnership follows a June agreement with AbbVie ($ABBV) tied to the same technology. The company has similarly outlicensed Enhanze to Roche ($RHHBY), Baxalta ($BXLT), Pfizer ($PFE) and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ).

"Through collaborators like Lilly, we see a growing opportunity to work both at an earlier stage of drug development as well as with products that are entering the clinic on formulations that have the potential to benefit patients worldwide," Halozyme CEO Helen Torley said in a statement.

The company's in-house R&D efforts are focused on PEGPH20, an investigational cancer therapy using the same basic principles behind Enhanze. The treatment ran into some serious safety concerns that forced Halozyme to pause development last year, but the company has since pushed PEGPH20 forward in clinical trials on pancreatic, gastric, lung and breast cancers.

- read the statement