Eli Lilly is shelling out up to $440 million plus for access to Zosano Pharma’s osteoarthritis patch ZP-PTH, which is currently on the verge of Phase III development.

ZP-PTH is a proprietary formulation of parathyroid hormone delivered via the microneedle patch system, being developed as an alternative to daily injections of the drug, which stimulates the formation of new bone and reduce the risk of fractures.

"The product, if approved, could help patients suffering from osteoporosis to get a room temperature stable PTH patch for self-administration, without the need for a subcutaneous injection,” said Zosano’s chief executive Vikram Lamba.

Zosano, which is responsible for funding and developing ZP-PTH, has granted Lilly an exclusive worldwide license to commercialise the therapy following approval. In return, Lilly will make an equity investment of up to $15 million in the group, as well as regulatory and sales-based payments of up to $300 million and $125 million, respectively. 

Under the deal, Zosano is also eligible to receive double-digit royalties on sales of products in major markets and will receive reimbursement of all manufacturing costs.