LYON, France—Alizé Pharma, a group of companies developinginnovative therapeutics for metabolic diseases and cancer, announced inFebruary a research collaboration and license option agreement with Eli Lillyand Co. regarding Alizé Pharma's AZP-01 program, a program focused on thedevelopment of unacylated ghrelin (UAG) agonists for the treatment of type IIdiabetes.
Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will pay anundisclosed upfront fee and both companies will collaborate on Alizé's AZP-01project. In return, Lilly will be granted an exclusive option to license theprogram according to predefined terms. Other terms of the deal were notdisclosed, according to Alizé Pharma president and founder Thierry Abribat, whopoints out that success of the agreement will be gauged on whether Lillyexercises the option on the agreement.
Alizé's AZP-01 program aims at developing UAG agonists, anew potential therapeutic class for the treatment of type II diabetes.Available preclinical and preliminary clinical data suggest that UAG and itsanalogs have a therapeutic potential in diabetes through a novel mechanism ofaction that includes glucose and lipid-lowering effects, a trophic effect onbeta cells, as well as insulin-sensitizing actions. Thus, UAG and its analogsmay have the potential not only to control the disease, but also to have apositive impact on other cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity,dyslipidemia and impaired vascular remodeling.
Abribat says his company is pleased with this firstagreement with Lilly, "a recognized leader in the field of diabetes."
"This collaboration will put our UAG program on the bestpossible track," Abribat adds. "It gives us access to Lilly's proven expertisein developing first-in-class molecules, while leveraging our resources andremaining totally in line with our business plan."
Abribat regards Lilly as "clearly a leader in the field ofdiabetes care, plus they have a proven track record of developing andcommercializing first-in-class products in metabolism, e.g. Byetta, the firstGLP-1 agonist for type II diabetes, or Forteo, the first PTH agonist forosteoporosis. They are deep in science and technology related tobiopharmaceuticals and metabolism, and their contribution in the researchcollaboration will add value to the program."
The work Alizé Pharma has been doing hasn't gone unnoticed.The Alizé Pharma Group is composed of privately held biopharmaceuticalcompanies specialized in the development of innovative therapeutics for thetreatment of metabolic diseases and cancer. The group acquires R&D programsfrom public or private laboratories, selecting them according to strictcriteria, with particular reference to medical need and innovation.
Alizé Pharma then handles preclinical and clinicaldevelopment and establishes partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry viaco-development or out-licensing agreements.
"We have been impressed with the work performed thus far byAlizé Pharma and its academic partners on this AZP-01 program," says Philip J.Larsen, chief scientific officer for diabetes research at Lilly. "As part ofour commitment to remain leaders in diabetes care, we look forward to launchingthis research collaboration with Alizé on this promising new target, andworking together to validate the therapeutic potential of drugs in this class."
Alizé Pharma SAS is the first of the two entities of thegroup. The other is Alizé Pharma II SAS. It is focused on the development ofAsparec, a new, long-acting recombinant L-asparaginase with reducedimmunogenicity for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and currentlyat the preclinical stage. Founded in April 2007, the Alizé Pharma group isbased in Ecully, near Lyon, France. Its management is made up of a team of drugdevelopment experts and a board of directors offering wide internationalexperience.