Lilly unloads another drug to Transition in $100M deal

Canada's Transition Therapeutics ($TTHI) is expanding its relationship with Eli Lilly ($LLY), promising up to $100 million in exchange for a muscle-boosting drug candidate.

Transition CEO Tony Cruz

Under the deal, Lilly is handing over TT701, a selective androgen receptor modulator that has shown promise in increasing lean body mass and muscle strength, according to Transition. On Lilly's watch, TT701 completed a 350-patient Phase II study, increasing muscle and reducing fat without significantly affecting prostate specific antigen levels, Transition said.

That efficacy signal could spell a new life for the once-discarded drug, Transition CEO Tony Cruz said, and the company is considering a handful of potential development paths for TT701. The biotech is also talking to potential partners with an eye on kicking off Phase II as soon as possible, Cruz said in a statement.

For Transition, the latest Lilly deal follows an up-and-down collaboration in Type 2 diabetes. In 2010, the pair reported a stinging failure for TT-223 and scrapped that program altogether. They have since moved on to TT401, which Lilly licensed in 2013, Kicking off a Phase II trial for the GLP-1 drug last year.

Transition's most advanced asset remains ELND005, a long-troubled CNS treatment developed alongside Elan until Perrigo ($PRGO) bought that company and handed the drug back to Transition. The biotech is still developing ELND005 as a treatment for agitation and aggression in Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome.

- read the statement