WuXi and Eli Lilly in pact on cardio candidate development in China

WuXi PharmaTech CEO Ge Li

China's WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) and U.S.-based Eli Lilly ($LLY) plan to develop a candidate to lower cardiovascular risk in patients with dyslipidemia in China that will see the local firm carry the load on development, regulatory approval and manufacturing, while the Indianapolis-headquartered multinational focuses on sales and marketing.

The candidate is an oral, once-a-day therapy from Lilly targeted at a potential patient population estimated at 276 million, according to a press release.

The deal comes as Lilly has pursued a number of licensing and other opportunities in China that have also looked to share development, regulatory and other workloads needed to carry candidates through.

In this particular case, WuXi's Product Development Service and Partnership unit will take the lead with An Investigational New Drug application in China with financial and other terms not detailed, according to the release. A pending management-led buyout for the U.S.-listed firm has not slowed its dealmaking appetite.

Earlier this month, WuXi PharmaTech inked a wider deal with California-based Gilead Sciences ($GILD) in China to equip and operate a 12,500-square-foot cGMP-compliant analytical testing facility and laboratory for Gilead's investigational small-molecule candidates to support global marketing applications.

The pact extends a working relationship several years old. Gilead is also in the approval process for its hepatitis C drug Sovaldi in China as well as price negotiations for possible reimbursement pending a China FDA nod.

For Lilly, the deals in Asia come through Lilly Asian Ventures in some cases, such as funding announced this month for Suzhou-based MabSpace Biosciences of $15 million Series money to develop the biotech's technology for antibodies that break the tolerance of the immune system.

As well, the parent firm has recently deepened development ties with China's Innovent Biologics in immuno-oncology bispecific antibodies and a separate pact with Yabao Pharmaceuticals to co-develop Lilly's sodium-glucose linked transporter inhibitor (SGLT1) as a treatment for diabetes, the second pact between the companies.

- here's the release