Eli Lilly entered into an agreement to develop Chugai Pharmaceutical's oral non-peptidic GLP-1 receptor agonist OWL833 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, the companies reported Thursday. Under the deal, Eli Lilly will make an upfront payment of $50 million to Chugai, with the latter also eligible for milestones and royalty payments, if the drug is approved.
As part of the agreement, Eli Lilly will receive worldwide development and commercialisation rights to OWL833, which is ready to enter Phase I testing. Yasushi Ito, Chugai's co-head of project and lifecycle management unit, remarked "we believe OWL833 can be a best-in-class oral non-peptide GLP-1 receptor agonist and that its value will be further enhanced through [Eli] Lilly’s clinical development."
Eli Lilly currently markets the injectable GLP-1 receptor agonist Trulicity (dulaglutide), with the product generating sales of $779.8 million in the second quarter, up 62 percent year-over-year. Daniel Skovronsky, Eli Lilly's chief scientific officer said "this exciting new opportunity from Chugai could represent a significant step forward for improving outcomes for people with diabetes."
Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk is currently conducting late-stage studies of its oral GLP-1 analogue semaglutide, reporting earlier this year that the drug demonstrated significant and superior reductions in HbA1c versus Merck & Co.'s DPP-4 inhibitor Januvia (sitagliptin) in adults with type 2 diabetes.
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