Zydus Cadila in R&D pact with Eli Lilly

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 31 2009, 05:44am hrs
Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila has signed a new drug discovery and development agreement with Eli Lilly and Company, focused in the area of cardiovascular research. As part of the agreement, Lilly will have an option to license any resulting molecules at different stages.

Zydus will receive potential milestone payments of up to $300 million and royalties on sales upon the successful launch of any compounds derived from the research programme. The collaborative research programme may continue for a span of up to six years.

As per the agreement, Zydus will work to discover and develop potential molecules against a novel target, primarily in the area of cardiovascular research. Zydus will initiate drug discovery, lead identification and optimisation, and conduct preclinical studies and clinical trials up to phase II human proof-of-concept. Lilly will provide chemical starting points as well as expertise and feedback regarding toxicology, ADME, chemistry, biology, clinical and regulatory aspects as needed to potentially increase the probability of success of the programme, stated a company release.

The alliance seeks to increase productivity in drug discovery and development by synergising the unique strengths of both companies.

Pankaj R Patel, chairman and managing director, Zydus Cadila, 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.

William Chin, vice president of discovery research and clinical investigation at Lilly, commented, We look forward to working with Zydus in this novel discovery collaboration. We believe Zydus has unique capabilities to discover and advance these candidates through early development, and we are excited to explore this innovative drug discovery and development model with them.

The Zydus Research Centre (ZRC), the research arm of the group, has developed a research pipeline of 6 new molecular entities (NMEs) in various stages of clinical trials. Out of the six, five NMEs are targeted at cardiometabolic disorders. The NME-ZYH1, for treating dyslipidemia has completed phase II clinical trials successfully. ZYH2, the novel agent for treating diabetes is undergoing phase I trials. ZYI1, the anti-inflammatory and pain management compound, is currently in phase II clinical trials. ZYO1, a novel drug candidate for treating obesity and related disorders, has completed phase I clinical trials. ZYH7, a novel drug candidate for treating dyslipidemia and metabolic disorders, and ZYT1, a novel drug candidate for treating dyslipidemia, are in Phase I clinical trials.