Scientific Collaboration Case Studies
Lilly in collaboration with Zymeworks will develop novel bispecific cancer immunotherapies using Zymeworks’ proprietary Azymetric™ platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Zymeworks has granted Lilly a worldwide license to the Azymetric™ platform to develop and commercialize therapeutic candidates. In exchange, Zymeworks received an initial up-front payment in the form of an equity investment as well as the potential to receive milestones and other payments, plus tiered sales royalties.
There are many targets involved in the controlled activation and redirection of the immune system, and immunotherapies will not be a one-size-fits-all treatment. Bispecific antibodies have the potential to provide improved outcomes for patients by simultaneously targeting two proteins resulting in additive or synergistic responses.
Lilly acquired CoLucid Pharmaceuticals, a public biopharmaceutical company developing an oral 5-HT1F agonist (lasmiditan) for the acute treatment of migraine, for a purchase price of $46.50 per share or approximately $960 million. Lasmiditan, if approved, would represent a first-in-class therapy to treat migraine through a novel mechanism of action without vasoconstriction. This could be desirable in migraine patients who have, or are at risk for, cardiovascular disease, as well as those who are dissatisfied with their current therapies.
Lasmiditan was originally discovered at Lilly and was out-licensed to CoLucid in 2005. Over the next 12 years, Colucid took important steps to decrease the risk related to the development and commercialization of lasmiditan as evident by the first positive Phase 3 trial. At the time lasmiditan was out-licensed, migraine was not a strategic area of focus for Lilly. Lilly has since reorganized its research and development efforts to focus on migraine as part of its emerging therapeutic area of pain.
Lasmiditan is an important addition to Lilly's pain management pipeline, which also includes galcanezumab, a potential medicine that has successfully completed development for the prevention of migraine and is in Phase 3 clinical development for cluster headache. In addition, tanezumab is being studied, in collaboration with Pfizer, for the treatment of multiple pain indications, including osteoarthritis, lower back and cancer pain.