IBJNews

Lilly licenses Xigris rights to new biotech firm

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Eli Lilly and Co. has agreed to license the U.S. marketing rights of its slow-selling sepsis drug Xigris to a newly created biotech company that will seek to reinvigorate sales of the medication, the Indianapolis-based drugmaker announced Monday morning.

The new company, BioCritica Inc., will be based in central Indiana and will be jointly owned by Lilly and two private investment firms: New Jersey-based Care Capital LLC and North Carolina-based NovaQuest Capital Management LLC.

The company will be led by David Broecker, who managed Lilly manufacturing operations in Germany and Ireland before becoming CEO of Alkermes Inc., a Massachusetts-based drug development firm.

A “handful” of Lilly employees will leave Lilly to join BioCritica, Broecker said. He expects the company to employ 20 to 25 people by year's end and as many as 70 by 2015.

The deal was structured with help from Indianapolis-based BioCrossroads, a life sciences business development group. Also, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. committed $2.9 million in tax credits and $175,000 in training grants.

BioCritica hopes to be able to do the clinical trial work necessary to develop Xigris for additional uses other than its treatment of severe sepsis in hospital patients. Within Lilly, Xigris was well down the priority list to get time from scientists and other staff.

“It’s a good way for the molecule to get some resources that it might not otherwise be able to get [inside Lilly],” said Lilly spokesman Mark Taylor.

Lilly, which is trying to find new drugs to replace aging blockbusters, has nearly 70 molecules in clinical trials, and is desperately seeking drugs that can produce annual sales of $500 million or more.

Xigris’ low-priority status within Lilly has much to do with its rather paltry sales, which totaled $104 million last year, down 18 percent from the previous year.

Xigris was the first drug Lilly launched after it lost patent protection on its best-seller Prozac in 2001. It is the only drug approved in the United States to fight severe sepsis. Lilly fought a long legal battle over the drug's patent with Massachusetts-based Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Expectations for the drug were initially huge, with some Wall Street analysts predicting annual sales of $2 billion. But the drug struggled after U.S. regulators approved the drug for a small category of patients, and because hospitals struggled to identify which patients and in which situations the drug was appropriate.

But Broecker hopes a new clinical trial Lilly sponsored, which is scheduled to produce results by year's end, will clear up that confusion.

"We believe if it's favorable, it will allow us to go out and essentially re-energize the marketplace," Broecker said.

BioCritica also plans to license and sell other drugs for use in critical care patients in hospitals.

“We are confident that BioCritica will help realize the full potential for Xigris while working to develop new critical care medicines,” said Lilly CEO John Lechleiter, in a statement.

Lilly did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, nor how much equity it will hold in BioCritica. Tayor said BioCritica will have an option to acquire the international rights to Xigris at a later date.

Taylor said the deal will have minimal impact on Lilly’s work force, since Xigris is manufactured by third-party firms and is sold via a contract sales force. Lilly does and will continue to do the packaging of Xigris.

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. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

ADVERTISEMENT