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Lilly Spins Off Biotech to Develop Sepsis Drug

Blood bag (NIH)

(National Institutes of Health)

Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana has signed agreements with private investors Care Capital and NovaQuest Capital to establish BioCritica Inc., a new biotechnology company. BioCritica will initially focus on the continued U.S. development and commercialization of Xigris — drotrecogin alfa (activated) — Lilly’s medicine for severe sepsis.

Under the agreement, BioCritica will acquire the U.S. development and commercialization rights to Xigris and will also receive the rights to potentially acquire several critical care compounds in pre-clinical development at Lilly. The collaboration also includes supply and services agreements, and an option for BioCritica to acquire development and commercialization rights to Xigris outside the U.S. Lilly will receive royalties on future U.S. sales of Xigris and will also receive an equity stake in BioCritica.

Supporting the creation of BioCritica are the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and BioCrossroads, Indiana’s initiative to advance and invest in the life sciences. BioCrossroads operates four different funds offering seed to later-stage venture investments in life sciences companies, as well as a special fund for health information technology investments.

Sepsis is a severe illness in which the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria, caused by an infection that can begin anywhere in the body. When contracting sepsis, blood pressure drops, often resulting in shock. Major organs and body systems, including the kidneys, liver, lungs, and central nervous system, stop working properly.

A report by Fierce Biotech in October 2010 says that Xigris, while approved by the FDA in 2001, did not meet Lilly’s sales expectations. The report cites a New York Times article in 2006 outlining the company’s attempts to boost sales of the drug, some of which resulted in criticism by doctors at National Institutes of Health.

Read more: R&D Spending Creates 11,000+ Jobs in Indiana Since 1999

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