Receiver selling off equipment, IP from failed biosimilars project

Need the equipment to start a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant? Centrifuges, chillers, compressors? Buy it this week for a one-time price of $2.2 million and the seller will also throw in the intellectual property (IP) for some insulin biosimilars. Otherwise it all goes up for auction.

The equipment and IP are part of a failed plan by two former Eli Lilly ($LLY) execs to make insulin biosimilars in Greenwood, IN. But when the $28 million plant and project failed to open this year, the city of Greenwood, which kicked in more than $8 million toward the project, foreclosed on it in June. Now a court-appointed receiver has put everything for sale. If it doesn't get its $2.2 million take-it-all price by Sept. 6, it will hold an auction Sept. 27.

The project started in 2010 when Elona Biotechnolologies proposed the plant to make insulin biosimilars. Biosimilars seemed like a good bet. Lilly, for example, last year brought in $1.3 billion for its Humulin insulin and $2.4 billion for Humalog. But Humulin's patent expired in 2000, and Humalog's was set to expire this year. With the FDA preparing final guidance on a pathway for approving biosimilars, there is an expectation that the companies with the know-how will be able to clean up. Still, those guidelines are not out, and several biosimilar projects involving some of the industry's biggest players have foundered.

The town decided the project could succeed and bring needed jobs and tax revenues. It loaned $6.4 million toward construction of the plant, then gave Elona $500,000 for equipment and $1.5 million to help it win approval from the FDA for its insulin. The funds were backed by a tax increment financing district that was expected to generate new tax dollars from businesses attracted by the development. But the project stalled, and efforts to bring in new investors didn't pan out, leading to the foreclosure.

- here's the release
- here's the website

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