Lilly and Evotec Aim $1B Deal at Kidney Disease and Diabetes

Eli Lilly_Cristina Arias_Getty Images

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One week after expanding its neurodegenerative diseases partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb, Evotec entered into a drug discovery collaboration for metabolic diseases with Eli Lilly, focusing on kidney disease and diabetes.

The collaboration between the two companies, which is currently set for three years, has a potential value of $1 billion, which covers up to five programs. Lilly, which has a significant presence in the diabetes field, will leverage Germany-based Evotec’s experience in metabolic diseases, the company’s kidney disease database, and its data-driven drug discovery platforms. Eli Lilly will harness the company’s capabilities in order to identify and validate potential novel targets for therapeutic discovery.

Once the potential targets are identified by either company, Evotec will be responsible for the discovery of potential drug candidates that could be used in the treatment of diabetes and metabolic diseases. Lilly will be able to select up to five programs from this agreement and take the candidates through the clinic and to potential commercialization.

In its announcement, Evotec did not identify if the targets could be in type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Cord Dohrmann, chief scientific officer of Evotec, expressed excitement over the potential of the partnership with Eli Lilly. Dohrmann said that, over the past several years, the company has methodically developed a proprietary patient database for metabolic and kidney diseases through multi-omics analyses of biospecimens from patient biobanks.

“Evotec's patient-derived molecular data in combination with our omics-supported multimodality drug discovery platform delivers highest quality drug candidates for our partners. We are proud to collaborate with Lilly in diabetes and kidney diseases as they are one of the leading companies in these areas,” Dohrmann said in a statement.

Evotec has also partnered with Novo Nordisk, the other leading company in diabetes treatments.

Under terms of the collaboration, Evotec will be eligible to receive up to $180 million per program that Eli Lilly selects. Additionally, the company will be eligible for tiered royalties on the net sales of any asset that is commercialized, which brings the total value of the collaboration to $1 billion.

Eli Lilly is one of the top pharmaceutical companies for the development of diabetes treatments. The company’s pipeline includes Baqsimi, Basalgar, Humalog, Humulin, Insulin Lispro, Jardiance, Tradgenta, Trulicity and more. In development, the company also has numerous assets for diabetes, including tirzepatide, a dual GLP-1 and GIP receptor agonist. 

Last fall, Eli Lilly posted positive data against type 2 diabetes. Data from the Phase III SURPASS-3 trial showed that tirzepatide led to greater improvements in liver fat content and abdominal adipose tissue compared to titrated insulin degludec in adults with type 2 diabetes. According to the company, those results were based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

In addition to its partnership with Evotec, Eli Lilly also announced a collaboration with China’s Abbisko Therapeutics. The two companies partnered for the discovery, development and potential commercialization of novel molecules against an undisclosed target for cardiometabolic diseases with critical unmet medical needs.

Abbisko will be responsible for the discovery and development of the molecules. Both companies will each other to utilize their existing compounds, platform and technologies related to the target in order to maximize patient choice.

If Abbisko Therapeutics is successful in advancing the compounds to the agreed-upon endpoints, Lilly will then have the right to further develop the assets through commercialization. If Eli Lilly opts not to advance the assets, then Abbisko will have the right to develop the program.

Under terms of the deal, Abbisko will be eligible to receive up to $258 million in various milestones and potential royalties. If Abbisko becomes responsible for the development of the assets, Eli Lilly will be eligible for milestone payments and royalties.

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