News Feature | January 14, 2014

Lilly Buys Back CGRP Antibody Rights

By Cassandra Leger

January 13, 2014 -  Eli Lilly & Company announced a successful acquisition of the entirety of Arteaus Therapeutics’ developmental rights of the Calcitonin Gene-related Peptide antibody, commonly referred to as the CGRP antibody. CGRP, a sensory neuropeptide, =has vascular and pro-inflammatory effects. As a result, the CGRP antibody is currently being studied as a viable treatment for aggressive and/ or reoccurring migraines.

The antibody is injected subcutaneously and prevents the activity of CGRP. Although the initial discovery of the antibody, labeled LY2951742, was done by scientists at Lilly, the molecule was later licensed to Arteaus Therapeutics for further development and clinical trials. Their license acquisition was a major factor in Arteaus’ receipt of $18 million in funding from Atlas Venture, which allowed Arteaus to open its doors in 2011.

For Lilly, the deal was part of their own risk-sharing strategy, which required their participation in the Capital Funds Portfolio. The portfolio encompasses various companies that have received independent funding from investment funds that acquire early stage molecules. These molecules are then entered into a development stage for clinical proof of concept.

Jan M. Lundberg Ph.D., President and Executive Vice President for Science and Technology at Lilly Research Laboratories, shed some light on the Capital Funds Portfolio/ Arteaus relationship by stating, "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." He went on to say, "Neuroscience remains a key focus for Lilly, and bringing novel medicines to patients is our priority. Migraine is a debilitating condition that can be severe and extremely disabling, and migraine sufferers need new safer and better treatment approaches."