Although Elan Corp. plc has been a high-profile acquirer of companies, it also has quietly gathered an extensive portfolio of joint ventures through which it leverages its drug delivery technologies. The joint venture format allows the company to evaluate technology it has an interest in over a range of products and disease indications, while keeping open the options of bringing on a third party development partner or acquiring the joint venture partner outright.

Forming joint ventures also is consistent with ELN's goal of reducing the number of drug delivery projects it funds on its own and shifting its focus to discovery and development of drugs in its areas of therapeutic focus.