Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) and Dicerna Pharmaceuticals have signed a global licensing and research collaboration focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of new drugs in the areas of cardio-metabolic disease, neurodegeneration and pain.
The companies will utilize Dicerna’s proprietary GalXC RNAi technology platform to progress new drug targets toward clinical development and commercialization. In addition, the partners will collaborate to move beyond the current technical paradigm in order to generate next-generation oligonucleotide therapeutic agents.
RNA interference (RNAi) is an emerging new approach to drug discovery, focused on a biologic process in which certain RNA molecules inhibit the expression of disease-causing genes by destroying the messenger RNAs (mRNAs) of those genes. RNAi has the potential to treat diseases by silencing some of the most well-validated, yet previously inaccessible drug targets.
Lilly senior vice president and chief scientific officer Daniel Skovronsky said: “At Lilly, we go to where breaking science meets unmet medical needs.
“We are excited to collaborate with Dicerna and utilize their RNAi expertise to study targets that up until now have proven to be very technically challenging. RNAi has the potential to treat an array of diseases that are of strategic importance to Lilly. Together with Dicerna, we aim to employ this emerging modality for greater success in drug development.”
Dicerna president and CEO Douglas Fambrough said: “The collaboration with Lilly provides an exceptional opportunity to leverage our proprietary GalXC platform in order to generate new medicines for cardio-metabolic diseases, and to establish a presence in new fields including neurodegeneration and pain.
“Lilly, with its demonstrated leadership in each of these fields, is an ideal partner for extending the range of Dicerna’s proprietary GalXC technology, which is designed to silence the expression of disease-driving genes. We are eager and ready to expand and advance our pipeline of innovative GalXC-based therapies, including both proprietary and partnered programs.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Dicerna will receive an upfront payment of $100 million, as well as an equity investment of $100 million at a premium. Dicerna is also eligible to receive up to approximately $350 million per target in development and commercialization milestones, as well as tiered royalties ranging from the mid-single to low-double digits on product sales. Dicerna will work exclusively with Lilly in the neurodegeneration and pain fields, and on select targets in cardio-metabolic diseases. The two companies anticipate collaborating on more than ten targets.
This transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.
The transaction will be reflected in Lilly’s reported results and financial guidance according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). There will be no change to Lilly’s 2018 non-GAAP earnings per share guidance as a result of this transaction.
Source: Company Press Release