United licenses drug indication to Lilly

Are you ready for an erectile dysfunction drug revamped to treat high blood pressure? Eli Lilly and United Therapeutics are betting big on it. The two companies have inked a deal to commercialize the active ingredient in Cialis--tadalafil--for pulmonary arterial hypertension. That indication is currently under review by watchdogs in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the E.U.

Under the deal, United Therapeutics will pony up $150 million for exclusive rights to tadalafil for the hypertension use in the U.S. The company will also get a manufacturing-and-supply deal for its money: Lilly will make the molecule for United Therapeutics and will handle all the regulatory and patent details.

In return, Lilly will take a $150 million stake in United Therapeutics. "United Therapeutics brings substantial expertise and passion to the treatment of patients with PAH and will be an excellent partner for this product," Lilly's Dr. Gwen G. Krivi said in a statement. "Their experience in this field will greatly enhance the ability to provide tadalafil for PAH, if approved, as a new therapeutic option for this very serious disease."

United Therapeutics' stock slumped on the deal, which investors appeared to consider too expensive for the smaller company.

- see the Lilly release
- check out the story at MarketWatch