Lilly makes amends with Adocia in $570M diabetes deal

Lilly Diabetes President Enrique Conterno

Eli Lilly ($LLY) is buying back into Adocia's pitch for a fast-acting insulin, reversing an earlier decision and signing a collaboration deal worth up to $570 million.

Under the agreement, Lilly will pay its French partner $50 million up front for the exclusive rights to BioChaperone Lispro, a synthetic insulin tied to Adocia's proprietary delivery system. Lilly has promised another $280 million in payments attached to development and regulatory milestones and $240 million more contingent on product sales.

This is Lilly's second go at BioChaperone, following a 2011 deal in which the drugmaker agreed to pay Adocia up to $165 million to co-develop a rapid-uptake insulin using the technology. About 18 months later, Lilly walked away from that deal despite a successful Phase I trial, leaving Adocia to move forward on its own without disclosing a reason.

Lilly's once and future partner did just that, posting positive clinical results for what became BioChaperone Lispro, including a Phase IIa study in which the insulin took effect faster than Lilly's Humalog.

And now the Indiana diabetes giant has returned to the table, apparently reconvinced of BioChaperone's promise and willing to pay for a do-over. The new plan is to co-develop the midstage insulin, which Lilly believes could spell a more flexible dosing regimen for diabetics.

"An ultra-rapid acting insulin, if approved by regulators, could provide a new important treatment option for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes," Lilly Diabetes President Enrique Conterno said in a statement. "An ultra-rapid acting insulin would be a natural fit in our growing portfolio."

Adocia's BioChaperone works by physically fusing with its ride-along protein therapeutics, protecting them from enzymatic degradation and increasing the speed and degree of absorption, the company said. Beyond its pipeline of fast-acting insulins, Adocia is developing a BioChaperone-equipped treatment for diabetic foot ulcers and an early-stage oncology candidate that uses a nanotech delivery platform called DriveIn.

- read the statement (PDF)

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