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Lilly and Asahi Kasei Pharma Announce License Agreement for Chronic Pain Drug Candidate

Friday, January 29, 2021

Eli Lilly and Company and Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation announced a license agreement whereby Lilly will acquire the exclusive rights for AK1780 from Asahi Kasei Pharma. AK1780 is an orally bioavailable P2X7 receptor antagonist that recently completed Phase 1 single and multiple ascending dose and clinical pharmacology studies. P2X7 receptors have been consistently implicated in neuroinflammation, a driving force in chronic pain conditions.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will be responsible for future global development and regulatory activities for AK1780. Lilly will pay Asahi Kasei Pharma an upfront payment of $20 million and Asahi Kasei Pharma may be eligible for up to $210 million in potential development and regulatory milestones. Asahi Kasei Pharma will retain the right to promote AK1780 in Japan and China (including Hong Kong and Macau). If AK1780 is successfully commercialized, Asahi Kasei Pharma would be eligible for up to $180 million in potential sales milestones, as well as tiered royalties ranging from the mid-single to low-double digits.

"Lilly is committed to developing novel medicines that may provide relief for patients suffering with various pain conditions," said Mark Mintun, M.D., vice president of pain and neurodegeneration research at Lilly. "We are pleased to license this molecule from Asahi Kasei Pharma, and look forward to developing it further as a potential treatment for neuroinflammatory pain conditions."

"Asahi Kasei Pharma believes that nobody should have to give up what they would like to do because of illness," said Osamu Matsuzaki, senior executive officer and head of R&D and Business Development at Asahi Kasei Pharma. "AK1780 may contribute to a better life and living for people who suffer from chronic pain. Our agreement with Lilly will hopefully accelerate the development of this promising medicine."

This transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. The transaction will be reflected in Lilly's reported results and financial guidance according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). There will be no change to Lilly's 2021 non-GAAP earnings per share guidance as a result of this transaction.

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