SAN DIEGO—Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. have struck up a global collaboration and license agreement for the development and commercialization of products combining proprietary Lilly compounds with Halozyme's ENHANZE platform. The platform is based on a proprietary recombinant human hyaluronidase enzyme, rHuPH20, that can temporarily degrade hyaluronan, a chain of natural sugars in the body, to help in the dispersion and absorption of other injected therapeutic drugs. It is thought that this technology could enable more rapid delivery of injectable medications through subcutaneous delivery.
"We are pleased to collaborate with innovators like Halozyme as we develop our pipeline assets and optimize them for the clinic," Dr. Divakar Ramakrishnan, vice president of delivery and device research and development at Lilly, said in a press release. "Halozyme's ENHANZE technology will provide a platform for our scientists to optimize delivery of Lilly medicines through subcutaneous injection."
Per the terms of the agreement, Lilly will pay Halozyme an initial $25 million, to be followed by milestone payments of up to $160 million for each of up to five collaboration targets valued at up to $800 million. The payments are subject to Lilly achieving certain specified development, regulatory and sales-based milestones. Halozyme also stands to receive mid-single digit royalties if products under the collaboration are commercialized.
"Lilly is one of the most respected brands and innovators in pharmaceutical development and we are pleased to support their pipeline with our ENHANZE technology platform," Dr. Helen Torley, president and CEO of Halozyme, commented in a statement. "Through collaborators like Lilly, we see a growing opportunity to work both at an earlier stage of drug development as well as with products that are entering the clinic on formulations that have the potential to benefit patients worldwide."
Halozyme is exploring its platform's potential in other deals as well. In early November, the company announced that Janssen Biotech Inc. had dosed the first patient in a clinical trial evaluating subcutaneous delivery of daratumumab using ENHANZE in patients with multiple myeloma. The Phase 1b clinical trial is focused on assessing the safety, pharmacokinetics and antitumor activity of a daratumumab by the subcutaneous route of administration in roughly 128 patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. The two companies began a collaboration and license agreement in December 2014, in which Janssen gained a worldwide license to develop and commercialize products for up to five targets, combining rHuPH20 with Janssen's proprietary compounds. CD38, which is targeted by daratumumab, is the first of those five targets.