Eli Lilly has linked up with Transition Therapeutics in a deal that will see the US major get access to the latter’s gastrin-based therapies to treat diabetes.

Under the terms of the deal, Lilly will make an upfront payment $7 million and may fork up an extra $130 million if the drugs reach potential development and sales milestones. Transition Therapeutics will also receive royalties.

The lead compound at Transition is TT-223, which is currently in early Phase II trials in type 2 diabetes, and Lilly will responsible for further development after that. It is a gastrin-based drug, part of an emerging class of drugs that have been shown to provide sustained improvement in glycaemic control in preclinical and early clinical studies.

David Moller, Lilly’s vice president of endocrine and cardiovascular research and clinical investigation, said the deal represents “an exciting new direction” for its diabetes care research. "We plan to leverage Transition's experience in gastrin-based therapies with our own internal expertise, including Lilly's strong biotechnology discovery platform”, he added.

Lilly condemns Connecticut Zyprexa claim
Meantime, Lilly has responded to the scathing remarks made by Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal when he presented a lawsuit earlier this week claiming that the firm illegally marketed the antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine).

His statement said that the firm “adopted a sick marketing mindset – profits over patients, sales over safety”, adding that it had been “driven by fierce greed”. Lilly has responded by saying that it “strongly disagrees" with the news release as it contained “no acknowledgment of the seriousness of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, no reference to the importance of treatment stability and provided no guidance to patients who may now have questions about their treatment."