IBJNews

Lilly collaboration with outside researchers yields first deal

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. has struck its first deal under an open-collaboration program launched last year to evaluate the potential of compounds synthesized in university and biotech labs.

After receiving data on more than 30,000 compounds from researchers in 26 countries, the first collaborative agreement was reached in its own back yard, with University of Notre Dame researchers Marvin Miller and Garrett Moraski.

They‘ll work with Lilly scientists for at least the next year to discover the potential of the Notre Dame compounds to starve the blood flow to tumors.

While there’s nothing new about collaborations with outside researchers, Lilly’s Phenotypic Drug Discovery Initiative, or PD2, is to provide a more convenient entry point for outside researchers into Lilly’s drug-discovery and -development process.

It allows the drugmaker to establish relationships with outside scientists that may not have worked with Lilly before. The ultimate goal is finding a promising compound, which an outside researcher might otherwise leave on the shelf, and turn it into the next blockbuster drug.

PD2 consists of a secure Web portal that researchers use to submit the structure of their compounds for an initial computational analysis by Lilly. If it shows promise, a researcher is invited to submit a biological sample for testing.

The outside researchers receive more extensive data on the compound’s biological profile than what generally is possible in academic or government labs, Lilly says.

In return, Lilly gets first rights to exclusively negotiate a collaboration or licensing agreement.

“This is the first of many” collaborations to be formalized in the months ahead, said Alan Palkowitz, vice president of discovery chemistry research and technologies at Lilly.

Lilly has about 70 of its own compounds in the pipeline at its labs worldwide. As research and development costs have risen, Lilly and its competitors have been forging alliances with outside companies—licensing their technologies or outright buying the firms.

The PD2 program’s approach is believed to be unique among big drug companies. About two-thirds of interest in PD2 so far has come from university researchers.

Traditionally, a pharmaceutical company might buy technology from a university lab and the relationship might end then and there, Notre Dame’s Miller said.

He says Lilly’s approach goes beyond a financial transaction in that his team has received valuable data from Lilly – 90-some pages from the analysis of Notre Dame’s compound that originally was synthesized to treat tuberculosis.

“The intricacy of the data was really rich from a researcher’s point of view,” said Miller’s colleague, Moraski.

Such data can be used as part of further research and can improve the odds of a researcher's landing a federal grant, as well.

“Our upfront transaction currency is not money. It’s actually data,” said Lilly’s Palkowitz.

The Notre Dame researchers will work directly with Lilly scientists for the at least the next year, something Moraski, who is passionate about finding ways to combat cancer, finds rewarding as well.

Such collaborations help Lilly leverage the expensive investment it has made over the years in its assay system to evaluate compounds to treat Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.

One of Lilly’s best-known products, the cancer drug Alimta, stemmed from a collaboration with Princeton University researcher Edward C. Taylor. The drug rang up sales of more than $2 billion last year.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

ADVERTISEMENT