Collaboration will focus on the development of dual amylin calcitonin receptor agonists (DACRAs).

Diabetes patients might have a new type of treatment available to them in the future. Pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly and KeyBioscience, a wholly owned subsidiary of Danish biotech company Nordic Bioscience, announced that they will be collaborating on the development of a potential new class of treatments for metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, over 400 million people suffer from diabetes globally, and approximately 90% of them have type 2 diabetes. When diet and exercise are insufficient, these patients take a variety of medications, including different insulins, oral treatments, and non-insulin injectables.

Dual Amylin Calcitonin Receptor Agonists (DACRAs) have been developed by KeyBioscience. The dual activation of calcitonin and amylin receptors is thought to improve insulin sensitivity, suppress food intake, reduce fat deposition, improve blood glucose levels and cause weight reduction.

"We are extremely excited about the promise of this new mechanism, which could potentially improve insulin sensitivity, reduce weight and improve blood glucose control," said Morten Karsdal, Chairman of the Board, KeyBioscience AG. "The dual activation of the calcitonin and amylin receptors is exciting research in the diabetes space. We look forward to partnering with Lilly to advance this important work."

KeyBioscience has developed several DACRA compounds and its lead candidate, KBP-042, is now in a Phase II study. As part of the agreement, Eli Lilly received worldwide rights to develop and commercialize not only KBP-042, but other molecules in the DACRA platform, such as KBP-089 and KBP-056. The different molecules are engineered to exhibit different effects or potencies and are at the pre-clinical to Phase I stages of development.

Lilly will make an upfront payment of $55 million to Key Bioscience for these rights, as well as milestone payments if development, regulatory, and commercialization goals are met as well as royalty payments on future sales. The deal is subject to approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.

"This is an exciting opportunity," said Enrique Conterno, President, Lilly Diabetes and Lilly USA. "Our strategic collaboration with KeyBioscience AG will open the door to a potentially innovative treatment approach for people with type 2 diabetes and, possibly, other metabolic conditions."