Lilly, Dicerna Form RNAi Pact; Lilly Takes Equity Stake in Dicerna

By Akia Thorpe -

November 2, 2018

Eli Lilly and Company and Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company, have signed a multi-million-dollar pact to develop potential new medicines in the areas of cardio-metabolic disease, neurodegeneration, and pain, using RNA interference (RNAi) technology.

Under the agreement, Dicerna will receive an upfront payment of $100 millionas well as an equity investment of $100 million. Dicerna is also eligible to receive up to approximately $350 million per target in development and commercialization milestones as well as tiered royalties ranging from the mid-single to low-double digits on product sales. Dicerna will work exclusively with Lilly in the neurodegeneration and pain fields, and on select targets in cardio-metabolic diseases. The two companies anticipate collaborating on more than 10 targets.

The companies will use Dicerna's proprietary GalXC RNAi technology platform to progress new drug targets toward clinical development and commercialization. In addition, the partners will collaborate to generate “next-generation” oligonucleotide therapeutic agents.

RNAi is an emerging new approach to drug discovery, focused on a biologic process in which certain RNA molecules inhibit the expression of disease-causing genes by destroying the messenger RNAs (mRNAs) of those genes. RNAi has the potential to treat diseases by silencing some of the most well-validated, yet previously inaccessible drug targets, according to information from Lilly.

This transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.

Source: Eli Lilly and Company