The deal is the latest in a string of outsourcing deals inked by Lilly, which got underway in August when it signed a 10 year preclinical toxicology agreement with Covance and sold its laboratory to the contract research organisation (CRO).
Lilly has also entered into deals with Icon, Quintiles, i3 and a R&D joint venture with India’s Jubilant Organosys in recent months. The pharma major has now increased the level of its R&D outsourcing through the deal with Zydus, which will see the Indian company taking responsibility for a chunk of Lilly’s cardiovascular research in an agreement that could span six years.
Pankaj Patel, chairman and managing director of Zydus, said: “We have built strong discovery and development capabilities in the cardiometabolic disease area and this is a wonderful opportunity to unite efforts, share expertise, complement strengths and develop new potential cardiovascular therapies. We are delighted to embark on this programme with Lilly and create a new benchmark in collaborative research programmes.”
Cardiovascular disease in JV’s sights
The collaboration has been established to discover and develop potential drug candidates against a novel target, with the research primarily focused on cardiovascular diseases.
Zydus’ role within this covers drug discovery, lead identification and optimisation and conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials up to Phase II human proof-of-concept.
In return Lilly will provide expertise and feedback regarding toxicology, ADME (adsorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion), chemistry, biology, clinical and regulatory aspects when deemed necessary to increase the probability of success. Lilly will also supply the chemical starting points.
The deal includes the option for Lilly to license any of the resulting molecules at different stages of development, with Zydus receiving up to $300m (€226m) in milestone payments. Zydus would also receive royalties from any product that reaches commercialisation.