Yabao expands ties in diabetes pact with a busy Eli Lilly in China

Yabao Pharmaceuticals said it has signed a second agreement to co-develop Eli Lilly's ($LLY) sodium-glucose linked transporter inhibitor (SGLT1) as a treatment for diabetes. This is the second collaboration between the two companies, following on from a 2014 agreement to co-develop another Lilly drug.

Yabao said in a statement that it will receive China rights to develop and commercialize the drug while Lilly retains its rights for all other markets. Yabao will fund all development, the company said in its statement, while Lilly retains buy-in options for the China program. Financial details were not disclosed.

With China's economic rise has come changes in lifestyles that have made China the center of a diabetes epidemic. The country has more than 100 million adults suffering from the disease, more than any other country in the world, according to The Lancet. The Journal of Asian Health estimates that by 2030 there will be 500 million diabetics in the country.

This agreement is just the latest by Yabao, which has signed several pacts this past summer.

The company in-licensed Greater China rights to K13 from Canada's Primary Peptides for stroke treatments and also signed a deal with the University of South Australia for oncology treatments. The company also in-licensed the Greater China rights in 2014 for a sepsis treatment from Canada's Lawson Health Research Institute.

Earlier this month, China's Innovent Biologics deepened a pact with Lilly by including immuno-oncology bispecific antibodies for Innovent in Greater China and for the Indianapolis-based firm outside of the country, setting a new benchmark in a white-hot area of collaboration deals in oncology.

Under the terms, the companies will work to develop and commercialize as many as three anti-PD-1-based bispecific antibodies for cancer treatments over the next decade, according to a press release, that could lead to more than $1 billion in milestones from Lilly as well as additional royalties.

- here's the release from Yabao
- here's a report from The Lancet and one from the Journal of Asian Health

EJ Lane contributed to this report.