Eli Lilly has acquired, based on positive phase II data, all development rights for a calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antibody currently being studied as a potential treatment for the prevention of frequent, recurrent migraine headaches.
CGRP is a sensory neuropeptide with vascular and pro-inflammatory effects, two processes that have been implicated in migraine headaches. Lilly's CGRP antibody is a biologic entity injected subcutaneously that binds and inhibits the activity of CGRP, which is released during activation of sensory neurons involved in pain signaling.
This novel molecule (LY2951742) was discovered by Lilly scientists and then licensed to Arteaus Therapeutics for development in the clinical proof-of-concept study. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Arteaus was formed in 2011 with an $18 million investment from Atlas Venture and OrbiMed, upon acquiring the rights to develop Lilly's CGRP antibody. Licensing Lilly's CGRP antibody to Arteaus was part of Lilly's alternative risk-sharing strategy, which includes participation in the Capital Funds Portfolio. The Capital Funds Portfolio comprises virtual project-focused companies, financed by independent investment funds that acquire early-stage molecules to develop through proof-of-concept (one or more clinical studies designed to determine whether a molecule has the potential to work in patients). If the molecule shows efficacy, the molecule and/or development rights are offered for sale to biopharmaceutical companies.
"Of the nine project-focused companies currently in the Capital Funds Portfolio, Arteaus is the first to reach proof-of-concept and to achieve positive results. Through this strategy, independent investment firms and portfolio companies provide a unique way to access, share risks and expand funding to develop molecules, such as the CGRP antibody, to help speed the delivery of timely valued medicines to patients who are waiting," said Jan M. Lundberg, Ph.D, executive vice president for science and technology and president, Lilly Research Laboratories.
"We are incredibly excited about the potential for this compound, and are grateful to all the patients and investigators for their participation and commitment to furthering our understanding of migraine. LY2951742 represents a potential breakthrough therapy for the nearly nine million patients who suffer from frequent migraine," said David Grayzel, M.D., CEO of Arteaus Therapeutics.
Lilly is expected to incur a fourth-quarter 2013 charge of approximately $57.1 million (pre-tax), or approximately $0.03 per share (after-tax).