Eli Lilly boosts radiopharmaceuticals focus with $140 million Radionetics partnership

By Clara Rodriguez Fernandez

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Partnership Research radiopharmaceuticals Patient centricity Clinical trials

Under the terms of the agreement, Eli Lilly will obtain the exclusive rights to acquire Radionetics Oncology for $1 billion.

Eli Lilly has entered a strategic partnership with Radionetics Oncology, a biotechnology company focusing on the discovery and development of targeted radiopharmaceuticals to treat a broad range of solid tumors.

As part of the agreement, Eli Lilly will pay $140 million upfront to Radionetics Oncology with the goal of advancing the company’s pipeline of drug candidates. Eli Lilly also obtained the exclusive rights to acquire Radionetics for $1 billion after an exercise period concludes.

During this exercise period, Radionetics will continue building and developing its pipeline of small molecule radioligands. This therapeutic modality, consisting of hitching a radioactive isotope to a small molecule, is designed to selectively kill cancer cells with radiation while minimizing harm to healthy cells. 

The company takes a “fit-for-purpose” approach that consists of pinpointing the precise target and selecting the ideal small molecule ligand paired with the optimal radioisotope to achieve a therapeutic effect.

The drug discovery platform developed by Radionetics Oncology focuses on targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), a vast group of proteins that are often overexpressed on cancer cells but have traditionally been difficult to drug.

“Our platform uniquely pairs the power of radiopharmaceuticals with the precision of small molecule targeting to novel GPCRs. We have a specialized team that is focused on rapidly advancing each of our promising programs to bring these much-needed new therapies to patients,” said Brett Ewald, Chief Operating Officer of Radionetics Oncology.

Based in SanDiego, Radionetics Oncology was founded in 2021 as a spinout of Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, a pharma company developing therapies for rare endocrine diseases and endocrine-related tumors. The strategic agreement with Eli Lilly comes shortly after the company’s $52.5 million series A fundraising in February this year.

For Eli Lilly, the partnership with Radionetics Oncology is another step in its expansion into radiopharmaceuticals. In May this year, Lilly entered a partnership worth up to $1.1 billion with radiopharmaceuticals startup Aktis Oncology. Last year, the big pharma acquired Point Biopharma for $1.4 billion, gaining access to three radiopharmaceutical drug candidates that are currently in clinical development.

"Furthering our commitment to radiopharmaceutical therapies, this relationship provides access to novel GPCR targets and the discovery capabilities of Radionetics Oncology," said Jacob Van Naarden, Executive Vice President and President, Lilly Oncology.

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