Eli Lilly Focuses on Obesity and Diabetes with $1.5 Billion Deal
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Eli Lilly forged a multi-year collaborative partnership with China-based Regor Therapeutics Group to discover and develop new therapies for metabolic disorders. The partnership could be worth more than $1.5 billion to the three-year-old Regor, which has offices in Boston.
The partnership allows both companies to benefit from existing compounds and technologies to develop new assets. The companies did not identify specific targets in their announcement, but they noted that working together will allow them multiple shots to “maximize patient treatment choice.” Common metabolic disorders include diabetes, obesity, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). These types of metabolic disorders impact the lives of millions of people across the globe. With its insulin products, Eli Lilly is well-established in the diabetes space.
Ruth Gimeno, Ph.D., vice president, diabetes research and clinical investigation at Lilly, said the company would expand treatment options for patients with metabolic diseases through collaboration with Regor. She said Regor’s CARD platform and technology would allow the company to accelerate innovation and deliver breakthrough therapies in obesity and diabetes.
The two companies are no strangers. In February of this year, Lilly Asia Ventures, a venture program of Eli Lilly, was the lead investor in Regor’s $90 million Series B financing round.
Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will take the lead in accessing Regor’s intellectual property to begin researching and developing new assets. Lilly will be able to leverage Regor’s CARD (Computer Accelerated Rational Discovery) platform to accelerate the development of these assets. Lilly will market the drug globally, except in China, Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan if an asset is taken through clinical development and commercialization.
Xiayang Qiu, Ph.D., founder and chief executive officer of Regor, said since the company was established in 2018, Regor has built a “world-class research organization.” Of the partnership with Lilly, Qiu called it an “extraordinary opportunity” to develop novel therapeutics for these metabolic diseases.
“We are pleased to establish this strategic collaboration with Lilly, a top global leader in metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity,” Qui said in a statement.
Under the terms of the collaboration, Eli Lilly made an upfront payment of $50 million to Regor, which partially includes an equity investment into the China-based company. The terms also allow Regor to receive up to $1.5 billion in potential payments based on clinical and commercial milestones. The company will also be eligible to receive tiered royalties on any marketed product from the deal.