Danish drugmaker Zealand has inked a research pact with drug giant Eli Lilly to develop new drugs for obesity and diabetes.

Under the agreement, Zealand will collaborate with Lilly to design and develop potentially first-in-class peptide therapeutics for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity based on a novel approach discovered by US group. 

Financial details of the deal have been kept tightly under wraps, but the companies did divulge that they will share in the funding, risk and reward of the program.

They also said that future expansion of the collaboration to additional drug targets and disease areas is possible.

According to Ruth Gimeno, chief scientific officer for diabetes drug discovery at Lilly, scientists at the firm have discovered a novel peptide hormone-based approach with the potential to lower blood glucose as well as body weight. 

”We are pleased to engage in a collaborative program with Zealand with the objective of advancing this concept toward early development," she said, commenting on the deal.