Alkermes keeps drug-delivery ties intact in Lilly-Amylin breakup

Alkermes ($ALKS) has come through the divorce between its partners Amylin ($AMLN) and Eli Lilly ($LLY) unscathed, with all of its royalty rights to sales of extended-release exenatide or Bydureon, according to an Xconomy report. Amid Amylin's legal spat with Lilly over those two companies' agreement related to exenatide, Alkermes, which provides the extended-release tech for Bydureon, had managed to stay unscathed during the fight.

Like in many drug-delivery partnerships, Alkermes has provided its microsphere tech for Bydureon and stepped aside as Lilly and Amylin have taken the lead on development of the diabetes drug and seeking regulatory nods. That role seemed to have served Alkermes well. After Lilly teamed up with Boehringer Ingelheim on the diabetes drug Trajenta, Amylin filed a lawsuit against Lilly on grounds that the Lilly-Boehringer deal intruded on Amylin's previous agreement with Lilly on exenatide. Alkermes managed not to get dragged into the dispute, which was settled with Amylin and Lilly's agreement this week.

To gain full rights to exenatide, Amylin is paying Lilly $250 million initially and up to $1.2 million from sales of exenatide products--which include the previously approved Byetta and the next-gen version for the drug, Bydureon. Bydureon, a once-weekly injection of exenatide, was approved in Europe earlier this year and is under review for potential FDA approval in January 2012. Some analysts have projected Bydureon to reach more than $1 billion in annual sales, and as key regulators stamp approvals on the drug, Alkermes stands to get royalties on sales of the drug.

Alkermes' polymer microsphere tech is key to Amylin's exenatide franchise, in which it's got even more at stake than before its recent agreement with Lilly. Byetta, which is injected twice a day, has lost market share to Novo Nordisk's competing once-daily drug, Victoza. Analysts believe that once-weekly administration of exenatide in Bydureon gives the treatment a potential edge in the market.

- read Xconomy's article
- check out FierceBiotech's article

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