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Jan 31, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Following the leaders

Lilly, Boehringer create single late-stage pipeline in diabetes

Being late to the DPP-4 and SGLT2 inhibitor party doesn't seem to bother Eli Lilly and Co., as the pharma added a pair of these oral candidates to its injectable diabetes portfolio in a deal with Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH. The partnership, which combines both companies' late-stage diabetes programs into a single pipeline, could be a template for other biopharmas under the right circumstances.

Under this month's deal, Eli Lilly and Boehringer will co-develop and co-commercialize four late-stage diabetes programs, including two oral molecules from Boehringer: linagliptin and BI-10773; and two basal insulin analogs from Lilly: LY2605541 and LY2963016. Linagliptin is a xanthine-based dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor that is under regulatory review in the U.S., Europe and Japan. BI-10773, a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2), and Lilly's two insulin analogs are slated to start Phase III testing this year.

Boehringer also has an option on Lilly's anti-TGF-beta mAb, which is in Phase II testing in diabetic patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). If Boehringer exercises its option, the mAb would be added to the joint portfolio.

If linagliptin is approved, it will be the third oral DPP-4 inhibitor on the market in the U.S. and the fourth in Europe.

On an investor call, Lilly's Enrique Conterno said DPP-4 inhibitors represent the fastest growing class of oral diabetes therapies, with the expectation that DPP-4 inhibitors will overtake thiazolidinediones (TZDs) in revenue this year. Conterno...

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