USA – Eli Lilly and Company has announced a drug discovery collaboration with Evotec in the field of metabolic diseases, with a focus on kidney diseases and diabetes.

The three-year partnership will make use of Evotec’s extensive experience and track record of delivering in the field of metabolic diseases, as well as its unique and extensive kidney disease patient database, will be used to identify and validate promising novel targets for therapeutic intervention.

Cord Dohrmann, Evotec’s chief scientific officer, explained that “over a period of several years, Evotec has systematically built a proprietary patient database by conducting multi-omics analyses of biospecimens from patient biobanks covering metabolic and kidney diseases.”

Evotec will be in charge of discovering potential drug candidates from targets identified by the two companies under the terms of the agreement.

Meanwhile, Eli Lilly reserves the right to choose up to five of the partnership’s programs for further development, clinical validation, and commercialization.

The metabolic emphasis comes as Lilly awaits the FDA’s decision on tirzepatide, a diabetes medication that is also in a pivotal trial for obesity.

Lilly also has a phase 3 chronic kidney disease asset in the form of empagliflozin, as well as a number of other mid- and early-stage diabetes programs.

Eli Lilly will make an undisclosed upfront payment to Evotec, with the latter eligible for milestone payments of up to US$180 million per program, as well as tiered sales royalties worth up to US$1 billion.

This is a comparable per-program price to Novo Nordisk’s deal with Evotec, which also targets chronic kidney disease and began in August 2020.

As part of that agreement, Novo agreed to pay US$179 million in upfront fees, research funding, and milestone payments.

Both companies will share preclinical responsibilities, with Novo handling clinical development and commercialization.

Bayer, Exscientia, Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi, Bristol Myers Squibb, UCB, and Pfizer are among the biopharma companies with which Evotec has agreements.

Separately, Abbisko Therapeutics announced a collaboration with Eli Lilly to develop molecules against an unspecified target for cardiometabolic diseases on Tuesday.

Abbisko, for its part, will lead the discovery and development of molecules that modulate an unnamed target. Lilly will step in with prior discovery data on the target and disease expertise. Lilly has the right to develop and commercialize the compounds if they reach agreed-upon endpoints.

Abbisko is eligible for up to US$258 million in potential milestone payments, as well as tiered sales royalties, under the terms of the agreement.

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