Eli Lilly has decided to terminate its partnership with Adocia for the development of BioChaperone Lispro, an ultra-rapid insulin for diabetes.
Despite results from 6 clinical studies indicating that Adocia’s ultra-rapid insulin performs better than Eli Lilly’s Humalog, the big American pharma has decided to terminate its collaboration with the French biotech. As part of this licensing partnership, Eli Lilly had already paid over €56M ($60M) during development, but the rights will now get back to the biotech at no cost.
Gérard Soula, CEO of Adocia, has expressed his surprise and disappointment. “We are convinced that BioChaperone Lispro can improve the lives of people with diabetes and Adocia will continue to prepare launch of Phase III clinical trials while looking for a new partner.”
The product in question uses Adocia’s Biochaperone technology, which forms a complex with the desired drug to protect it from degradation and enhance its performance. In the case of insulin, this technology makes absorption faster, which improves the level of control patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have over their blood sugar.
Rather than due to poor performance, it looks like Eli Lilly’s decision is based on the failure of its Alzheimer’s drug solanezumab in Phase III. The company has already eliminated around 485 jobs across the US due to the trial results.
In addition, despite the superiority of Adocia’s BioChaperone Lispro over Humalog, the big pharma would have faced tough competition in the insulin market. Sanofi’s Lantus and Novo Nordisk’s NovoRapid are both in the top 10 best-selling biologicals, whereas Humalog sales have proved lower than expected. Instead of bidding for a riskier, more innovative product, Lilly’s position in the diabetes market will now mostly rely on Abasaglar, its biosimilar of Lantus.
For both Adocia and diabetics worldwide, this decision brings bad news. The development of the product could be significantly delayed if the French biotech does not find a partner soon. And rejection from such a big partner could have a toll on the company while approaching potential new partners.
Images from Wvdbijl/Shutterstock, Adocia