Twice rejected by Lilly, Adocia mounts recovery with diabetes drug deal

Adocia has sold the Chinese rights to two diabetes prospects to Tonghua Dongbao Pharmaceuticals for $50 million (€41 million) upfront. The deal sparked a 30% jump in Adocia’s stock price as investors cheered evidence the biotech is gaining momentum 15 months after being dumped by Eli Lilly.

Tonghua is paying $40 million upfront for the exclusive rights to fixed-ratio insulin glargine and insulin lispro combination BioChaperone Combo in China. It is also paying another $10 million for the same rights to a fast-acting insulin, BioChaperone Lispro. Adocia is inline to receive up to $85 million more—$50 million for BC Combo, $35 million for BC Lispro—in milestones as the candidates advance.

The phase 3-ready Lispro is the more advanced of the two candidates, but the sums suggest BC Combo—a mix of Sanofi’s Lantus and Lilly’s Humalog—is the bigger draw for Tonghua. That reflects the diabetes treatment landscape in China, where premixed insulins are popular.

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“BioChaperone Combo is the most important program of this collaboration as premixes are the most popular insulin treatment in China,” Adocia CEO Gérard Soula said in a statement (PDF).

Seeing that as an opportunity, Adocia has specifically sought out a Chinese partner for BC Combo. In contrast, the French biotech has had global partnering plans for Lispro, which would benefit from the financial and operational support of a Big Pharma used to running late-phase diabetes trials.

Adocia had such a partner in the past. Lilly, having already dropped BC Lispro once, paid $50 million upfront and committed to up to $520 million more to secure rights to the drug in 2014, only to walk away from the partnership again two years later. That left Adocia without Big Pharma support for BC Lispro as it closed in on a phase 3 trial.

Fifteen months later, Adocia is still in the same boat.

Apr 26, 2018

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