Boehringer Ingelheim and Zealand Pharma have signed a pact to develop novel medicines for improved treatment of cardio-metabolic diseases.

The global exclusive licence, research and development collaboration covers a novel therapeutic peptide project from Zealand’s portfolio of preclinical programs, although the specific target remains under wraps for now. 

The companies will combine their research expertise for up to four and a half years to work on the continued discovery, identification and characterisation of novel peptide medicine candidates within cardio-metabolic disease area, and advance any promising candidates into preclinical development. 

As per the terms of the deal, the German drugmaker takes on responsibility for carrying out preclinical and clinical development as well as commercialisation, and it is picking up the tab for all research, development and commercialisation activities.

Zealand stands to receive potential milestone payments of up to a total of 295 million erupts for the first compound developed and marketed under the collaboration, and an additional stream of cash for any other compounds advanced thereafter. Zealand is also entitled to research funding plus tiered royalties on global sales of products stemming from the collaboration, and retains co-commercialisation rights in Scandinavia.

Second deal

This marks the second collaboration between Zealand and Boehringer following their first to develop novel glucagon/GLP-1 dual-acting peptide therapeutics to treat patients with Type II diabetes and/or obesity, signed in June 2011.

The new deal "reflects the confidence both parties have in each other and of their complimentary expertise in the research and development of new medicines," the firms said in a statement.