Eli Lilly advances drug delivery tech deals with Starpharma, Arecor

Eli Lilly ($LLY) is doubling down on efforts to tap into other firms' drug delivery technology for its own development efforts.

The pharmaceutical giant will expand a 2010 deal with Australia's Starpharma, which is using its dendrimer tech to help Lilly improve how its small-molecule and protein-based pharma drugs are delivered. Separately, the firm has inked a deal with Cambridge, U.K.-based Arecor Limited to evaluate Arecor's Arestat tech. Arecor will create stable formulas for Lilly's new protein and peptide drug candidates, and improve the formulas and drug-delivery mechanisms of existing treatments.

Eli Lilly's partners announced both deals. Financial details were not disclosed in either transaction.

The initial Starpharma agreement dates at least back 2010. Starpharma's expanded deal with Lilly will involve additional in vivo studies and clinical trials. Any products in the collaboration that gain regulatory approval will trigger potential milestone payments. Starpharma describes dendrimers as nanotech that can enhance health and pharmaceutical products in how they reach their targets and function.

Separately, Arecor will be developing new Lilly drug candidates, or improve existing drugs, using its Arestat tech, which helps stabilize therapeutic proteins by addressing how they degrade after being used. Arecor said it is working with "top pharmaceutical and biotech companies" on various protein drugs and vaccines.

- here's the Starpharma release
- read the Arecor announcement

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