from the July 2008 issue

Eli Lilly buys rights to TransPharma osteoporosis product

Pharmaceutical companhy Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) and TransPharma Medical Ltd. have signed an agreement to develop and market TransPharma's osteoporosis treatment. Lilly will obtain exclusive worldwide rights to TransPharma's ViaDerm-hPTH (1-34) product and will also gain non-exclusive access to TransPharma's ViaDerm drug delivery system. Lilly will pay TransPharma a $35 million upfront payment, and TransPharma may also receive development and sales milestone payments, as well as royalties on sales, if a transdermal PTH product is successfully commercialized.

The companies did not disclose the total value of the deal, but to judge from on recent similar deals, payments may reach $500 million, if the product gains regulatory approval, gets to market, and sales reach anticipated levels.

ViaDerm-hPTH, which is administered transdermally using TransPharma's proprietary technology, is currently in Phase II clinical testing.

TransPharma and Lilly will both fund and participate in Phase II clinical development activities. Lilly will then be responsible for further development activities and the potential commercialization of any transdermal PTH products.

TransPharma, founded in 2000 by serial entrepreneur Dr. Yossi Gross, has developed a method to deliver drugs through the skin, directly into the bloodstream. Currently, these drugs require an injection.

TransPharma's osteoporosis product administers a drug which is biosimilar to Eli Lilly's osteoporosis drug, which has already been authorized to market, and which is currently administered via daily injection. The TransPharma treatment does not infringe on Lilly's patent because it is produced differently.

Lilly Research labs vice president Dr. Gwen Krivi, who is also global brand development platform leader for Lilly's musculoskeletal and Cialis platform, said, "This agreement expands the scope of our osteoporosis program with a novel, patient-centered approach that builds upon our success with Evista and Forteo."

TransPharma's ViaDerm drug delivery system incorporates a handheld electronic control unit, which creates microscopic passageways through the outer layer of the skin allowing for transdermal delivery of a wide variety of drugs from a patch.

Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, the U.S. and Japan.

TransPharma has raised $34 million to date, from VC funds including Pitango, Argonaut, Evergreen, Canada's T2C2, Vitalife, Biomedical Investments, and Singapore's TIF.

The firm also has a joint development deal with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA), which is another investor in TransPharma. Teva will invest $10 million in a collaboration to develop five molecules to deliver through TransPharma's technology. Activity has not yet begun under the collaboration.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report July 2008

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