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Lilly, Biotech Partner on Fast-Acting Insulin Analog

Adult testing a child's blood glucose (NIH)

(National Institutes of Health)

19 December 2014. The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company and biotechnology company Adocia are collaborating on commercial development of Adocia’s fast-acting synthetic insulin product. Adocia, based in Lyon, France, can gain as much as $570 million in the deal, not counting royalties on future sales.

Adocia develops enhanced formulations of protein-based therapies either on the market or previously approved by regulators. The company’s technology platform that it calls BioChaperone engineers polymers and small-molecule organic compounds to interact with proteins to form complexes that speed the action and absorption, or reduce dosage and frequency of protein-based therapies.

Among Adocia’s products in development is a line of fast-acting insulin analogs designed for people with type 1 or 2 diabetes to control their glycemic or blood glucose levels around mealtime. The company says its BioChaperone-enhanced BC Lispro insulin analogs work even faster than other comparable products, making it possible for people with diabetes to inject themselves during meals to maintain glycemic control. BC Lispro also could be formulated for insulin pumps or artificial pancreas devices.

The company’s regular formulation of BC Lispro is in intermediate-stage clinical trials, while a concentrated form of BC Lispro is scheduled to begin early stage trials. Adocia’s lead product, known as platelet derived growth factor-BB or PDGF-BB is a treatment for diabetic foot ulcers, currently in late-stage trials.

Under the deal, Lilly gains a worldwide license for further development, commercialization, and manufacturing of BC Lispro in regular and concentrated forms. Adocia in return receives an initial payment of $50 million, and reimbursement for certain reserch and development expenses. In addition, the company becomes eligible for $280 million in future payments based on achievement of development and regulatory milestones. Adocia can also receive another $240 million in sales milestone payments as well as royalties on sales.

Lilly already has an extensive line of insulin analogs, including fast-acting lispro products. Enrique Conterno, president of Lilly’s diabetes division, says in a joint company statement, “An ultra-rapid acting insulin would be a natural fit in our growing portfolio.”

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