Eli Lilly gains rights to Hanmi's experimental BTK inhibitor under potential $690-million deal

Eli Lilly gained global rights to Hanmi Pharmaceutical's experimental BTK inhibitor HM71224 under a licensing agreement potentially worth up to $690 million, the companies reported Thursday. As part of the deal, Eli Lilly will make an initial payment of $50 million to Hanmi, with the latter eligible for up to $640 million in potential milestones.

Eli Lilly will gain rights to develop, manufacture and commercialise HM71224, excluding China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea, for all indications. The US drugmaker will also lead development, regulatory, manufacturing and commercial activities for the small molecule drug in the regions covered in the collaboration. If HM71224 is commercialised, Hanmi will be eligible for tiered double-digit royalties on sales.

Thomas Bumol, senior vice president of biotechnology and immunology research at Eli Lilly, said "we're highly encouraged by the potential of HM71224 to deliver an innovative, first-in-class treatment option." The companies noted that the molecule is ready to enter Phase II studies, where it will be investigated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, lupus nephritis, Sjögren's syndrome and other related conditions.

Shares in Hanmi jumped as much as 14.8 percent on the news.

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