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Eli Lilly to Collaborate with Rigel Pharmaceuticals for $960 Million

February 22, 2021
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

The companies will co-develop and commercialize Rigel's R552, a receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) inhibitor, for all indications.

Eli Lilly and Rigel Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biotechnology company, announced on Feb. 18, 2021 that they have entered into a license agreement and strategic collaboration to co-develop and commercialize Rigel's R552, a receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) inhibitor, for all indications, for $960 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Eli Lilly will provide Rigel with an upfront payment of $125 million and an additional $835 million in potential development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments, Eli Lilly said in a company press release. Eli Lilly will handle the costs of the global commercialization of R552, while Rigel will maintain the right to co-commercialize R552 in the United States.

R552 has completed Phase I clinical trials and will begin Phase II clinical trials in 2021, according to the company press release. Additionally, Rigel has ongoing pre-clinical activities with its lead central nervous system (CNS) penetrant RIPK1 inhibitor candidates, for which Eli Lilly will handle all clinical development and commercialization.

"At Lilly, our immunology strategy is focused on the pursuit of novel targets that have the potential to develop into best-in-class medicines for patients with autoimmune conditions," said Ajay Nirula, MD, PhD, vice-president of immunology at Eli Lilly, in the press release. "RIPK1 inhibitors are a promising approach, and R552 is an exciting addition to our immunology pipeline. We look forward to working with Rigel to advance its clinical development."

"We are very excited to form this strategic partnership with Lilly. This collaboration will provide significant resources and expertise to support a broad investigation in multiple disease indications with our RIPK1 inhibitors," added Raul Rodriguez, Rigel's president and CEO, in the press release. "With Lilly's extensive knowledge in immune and CNS diseases, they are our ideal partner to ensure the clinical and commercial success of our RIPK1 inhibitor program."

Source: Eli Lilly