Adocia is unhappy with Eli Lilly, which walked away from their diabetes collaborations, which has left the biotech without a Phase III partner.

Not long ago, they were working together to produce new diabetes treatments but now the relationship between French biotech Adocia and big pharma Eli Lilly appears to have turned sour. Following the filing of arbitration claims seeking $11M (€9M) in damages last October, Adocia has filed further claims for the ‘improper use of confidential information and discoveries’ and ‘the breaching of collaboration and confidentiality agreements’ by Eli Lilly. Adocia hopes to receive over $200M (€161M) in damages and a decision by the third quarter of 2018.

Adocia develops new formulations of already-approved therapeutic proteins and peptides. Its BioChaperone platform enhances the efficacy and safety of therapeutic proteins and makes them easier for patients to use. By increasing peptide solubility, reducing enzymatic degradation, and maintaining the intracellular activity of peptides like insulin, patients experience a faster onset-of-action and enhanced efficacy with a lower dose.

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Adocia’s BioChaperone technology.

Eli Lilly spotted the potential of this technology, and with the patent of its diabetes blockbuster, Humalog, expiring in 2013 and Adocia’s technology tipped to take its place, a co-development deal was signed in 2014. The terms saw Adocia receive up to $570M (€464M) including milestones as Eli Lilly took over the clinical development, production, and marketing of BioChaperone Lispro – an ultra-rapid action insulin that mimics its natural release by the pancreas.

The partnership got off to a good start, with BioChaperone Lispro outperforming Lilly’s Humalog in a Phase Ib trial, which was followed up by similar results in comparison with Novo Nordisk’s approved treatments, Novolog and Fiasp. However, in January 2017, Eli Lilly decided to walk away from the agreement – possibly due to the Phase III failure of its Alzheimer’s drug. This has left Adocia without a partner to help it see its candidate through Phase III, prompting a backlash.

Some of the benefits of Adocia’s BioChaperone technology.

Considering the huge potential that Adocia’s technology was showing in the clinic, it’s hard to believe that Eli Lilly wanted to cut ties with the biotech. The failure of its Alzheimer’s drug forced the company to cut 485 jobs across the US so being forced to pay up to $200M will be another unwelcome surprise for the company.

However, with Adocia now left without a partner to help see BioChaperone Lispro through critical Phase III trials, it’s easy to understand the biotech’s frustration. With another 4 candidates ready to move through the clinic, including BioChaperone Glucagon for the treatment of severe hypoglycemia, the biotech will have been keen to keep moving forward and ideally secure a strong position in the diabetes and metabolic diseases fields.


Images – RomanR / shutterstock.com; Adocia

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