Lilly to partner for development of Alzheimer’s treatment

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INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 16, 2014) – Eli Lilly and Company is partnering with AstraZeneca to develop and sell a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

The treatment, AZD3293, is an oral beta secretase cleaving enzyme (BACE) inhibitor that could potentially treat the disease, a fatal illness affecting an estimated five million Americans over the age of 65.

Lilly will pay AstraZeneca up to $500 million in development and regulatory milestone payments. The Indianapolis-based drug maker will lead clinical development and work with AstraZeneca’s Innovative Medicines Unit for neuroscience. AstraZeneca will be responsible for manufacturing it. The companies hope to proceed into Phase 2/3 clinical trials.

Both companies will take joint responsibility for commercializing AZD3293. There will be an equal split in future developmental and commercialization costs, and the companies will share net global revenues after launch.

“Lilly has been committed to research in Alzheimer’s disease for more than 25 years, and we’re dedicated to developing new medicines that can change and modify the course of this devastating disease,” said David Ricks, Lilly senior vice president and president, Lilly Bio-Medicines. “Lilly’s pipeline of potential medicines and diagnostic agents targeting the known hallmarks of the disease has been bolstered today by this alliance with AstraZeneca, a strong strategic partner who shares our passion to bring new medicines to patients suffering from this debilitating illness.”

Ricks said the joint venture will move the company closer to its goal of making Alzheimer’s preventable by 2025.

“Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest challenges facing medical science today and BACE inhibitors have the potential to target one of the key drivers of disease progression. We are looking forward to working with Lilly, a company with a long term commitment to and expertise in treating Alzheimer’s disease,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, Innovative Medicines & Early Development at AstraZeneca. “We believe that, by combining the scientific expertise from our two organizations and by sharing the risks and cost of late-stage development, we will be able to accelerate the advancement of AZD3293 and progress a promising new approach to support the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients around the world.

Lilly estimates that the U.S. spends $203 billion a year in direct expenses associated with Alzheimer’s disease, with that number growing unless something is done to combat the illness and its debilitating effects.