Saturday, June 22, 2024

Lilly and Aktis Revolutionize Radiopharma for Cancer

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Eli Lilly is partnering with biotechnology company Aktis Oncology to develop radiopharmaceuticals for cancer treatment. Radiopharma investments like this are crucial for advancing cancer therapies and managing healthcare expenditures. By combining the expertise of both companies, this partnership aims to accelerate the development of innovative cancer treatments that can precisely target and destroy cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissues.

As part of the deal, Lilly will pay Aktis $60 million upfront, demonstrating its commitment to this collaboration and the potential it sees in Aktis’ technology. In addition to the initial payment, Aktis could receive up to $1.1 billion more if certain developmental and regulatory milestones are achieved. These milestones include successful clinical trials, regulatory approvals, and commercialization targets, which will trigger additional payments as each goal is met. Lilly is also making an equity investment in Aktis, further solidifying its confidence in the biotech company’s capabilities and future prospects.

This partnership builds on Lilly’s strategic expansion into the radiopharmaceutical field, following its $1.4 billion acquisition of Point Biopharma last year. By leveraging Aktis’ cutting-edge research and Lilly’s extensive resources, the collaboration is well-positioned to make significant advancements in cancer treatment, offering new hope for patients and contributing to the overall reduction of healthcare costs through more effective and targeted therapies.

Lilly will gain global rights to develop radiopharma therapies discovered by Aktis against targets selected by the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant. This partnership builds on Lilly’s $1.4 billion acquisition of radiopharma drugmaker Point Biopharma last year, which provided Lilly with three clinical-stage candidates, a research and development center in Toronto, and a manufacturing facility in Indianapolis.


Radiopharmaceuticals as Cancer Treatment

Radiopharmaceuticals offer an attractive alternative to traditional radiation therapy for certain cancers. These drugs use targeting molecules to deliver radioactive isotopes directly into tumors, minimizing damage to surrounding healthy cells. Clinical successes and regulatory approvals have increased investment and interest in radiopharmaceuticals. However, these therapies are challenging to produce, requiring specialized suppliers and manufacturing facilities, and precise timing for effective treatment.

Aktis is developing alpha-emitting radiopharmaceuticals, named for the type of radioactive particles they emit. Their lead candidate targets the protein Nectin-4, associated with bladder and other cancers. Nectin-4 is also a target of antibody-drug conjugates, another type of cancer medicine. Under the agreement, Aktis will handle discovery-stage work through initial human imaging studies, while Lilly will take over clinical development from Phase 1 onwards. Aktis retains full rights to its current pipeline, including the Nectin-4 program.

The biotech has previously drawn interest from major oncology players. Bristol Myers Squibb and Novartis, which has two approved radiopharmaceuticals, participated in Aktis’ $72 million Series A round three years ago. In 2023, Merck & Co’s venture arm participated in Aktis’ Series A extension, raising an additional $84 million. These investments highlight the growing confidence in Aktis’ potential to innovate in the radiopharma field.

This collaboration enhances Lilly’s radiopharmaceutical capabilities, reinforcing its commitment to advancing cancer treatment. “This collaboration with Aktis Oncology builds upon our growing radiopharmaceutical capabilities,” said Jacob Van Naarden, head of Lilly Oncology. As the field of radiopharma continues to grow, partnerships like this one are vital for driving innovation and improving patient outcomes. By leveraging Aktis’ expertise and Lilly’s resources, the partnership aims to develop cutting-edge therapies that can effectively target and treat cancer, contributing to better healthcare solutions and cost management.

An image showing the collaboration between Eli Lilly and Aktis Oncology. It could feature both companies’ logos, with a visual representation of radiopharmaceuticals targeting cancer cells. A graphic depicting the process of radiopharmaceuticals—targeting, delivery, and impact on cancer cells—would help illustrate the innovative nature of these treatments. The image should convey the high-tech, precise nature of radiopharma, emphasizing its potential to improve cancer care and manage healthcare costs.


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Resource:  BIOPHARMADIVE, May 21, 2024

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