VERNON HILLS, Ill.—Applied NeuroSoultions Inc.(APNS), a biotech company specializing in developing novel therapeutics and diagnostics for Alzheimer's disease (AD), announced late last month an agreement with Eli Lilly and Co. to develop therapeutics to treat AD.
The deal brings to APNS an immediate infusion of $2 million of which $500,000 represents an equity investment in the company by Lilly. In addition, APNS will receive an undisclosed amount of annual research and development support as well as the potential to earn between $10 million to $20 million per compound developed based on achievement of specific milestones.
For Lilly, which has a strong reputation in the area of CNS and other neurological disorders, the research agreement gives it access and an active partnership with Dr. Peter Davies, a founding scientist of APNS and a leader in Alzheimer's research.
"This is truly a collaboration between Dr. Davies and his lab and Lilly, where we will work within Lilly's established development process to identify compounds for further research and development," says Ellen Hoffing, president and CEO of APNS.
Specifically, the researcher will focus on APNS's discovery platform and understanding of the neuropathology of AD as it pertains to the formation of neurofibrillary tangles. APNS, now 13 years old, has been working to discover new targets for AD while also pushing forward with the development of a diagnostic tool, an effort that currently has it collaborating with nanotechnology company Nanosphere.
"There is currently no approved diagnostic on the market for AD and there is a huge market both for a diagnostic or any therapeutic for AD progression that halts the disease," says Hoffing, who took the reins of the company mere weeks before the official signing of the Lilly deal.
Hoffing, a 20-year veteran of the healthcare and biotech industry, was brought in to give the company fresh perspective and maximize its deal with Lilly while also looking for other opportunities to apply its discovery platform with other potential partners.
"Now that the Lilly deal is completed, my next major initiative is to take a step back and understand all the other aspects of the company," Hoffing says. "Once I've done that, we can develop a strategic plan to optimize the technology we have."
Clearly, the cash and equity investment from Lilly is a good start and one that should sustain the eight-employee company as it looks for other potential partners.