Adocia and Lilly’s legal tussle intensifies as diabetes deal goes wrong

It all looked so good in 2011 when Eli Lilly agreed a deal with French biotech Adocia to develop an ultra-rapid insulin, in a deal worth up to $165 million.

But since then the project has been beset by problems, with Lilly walking out after 18 months despite a successful phase 1 trial, before reversing this decision and signing a fresh collaboration deal in late 2014 worth up to $570 million.

And in January 2017 Lilly decided to walk away from the BioChaperone Lispro project for a second time.

Things have got decidedly ugly since then with Adocia lodging a legal claim at the beginning of this year, which the biotech has now upped to $1.8 billion.

Lilly has filed counterclaims against Adocia of $188 million, based on an allegation that the Lyon-based biotech concealed its discoveries and confidential information – charges that Adocia denies.

The proceedings are set for an arbitration hearing in December and a tribunal decision is expected next year.

Adocia noted in its latest update that proceedings are confidential and will provide updates as is appropriate.

“Based on these recent developments, we are continuing to prosecute our claims with the same determination,” said Gerard Soula, president and CEO of Adocia.

The biotech’s BioChaperone technology is designed to enhance the effectiveness and/or safety of therapeutic proteins, while making them easier for patients to use.

Adocia has five novel formulations for treatment of diabetes, including the BioChaperone Lispro formulation that is at the centre of the row with Lilly.

The French biotech and China’s Tonghua Dongbao began a new strategic alliance in April.

Pharmaceutical company Tonghua Dongbao got licenses to develop and market BioChaperone Lispro and a combination of long-acting insulin glargine and fast-acting lispro, BioChaperone Combo, in China and other Asian and Middle-Eastern territories.

The licensing included $50 million upfront and up to $85 million in development milestones, plus double-digit royalties on sales. In June 2018, Tonghua Dongbao agreed to manufacture and supply insulin lispro and insulin glargine to Adocia globally, excluding China.

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