Lilly To Acquire Rights to Asahi Kasei’s Pain Drug in $410-M Deal

By Miranda Greenberg -

February 4, 2021

Eli Lilly and Company has agreed to acquire the exclusive rights for AK1780, a chronic pain drug candidate from Asahi Kasei Pharma, a Tokyo-based pharmaceutical and diagnostic company, in a $410-million deal.

AK1780 is an orally bioavailable P2X7 receptor antagonist that recently completed Phase I single and multiple ascending dose and clinical pharmacology studies. P2X7 receptors are involved in neuroinflammation, which is associated in chronic pain conditions.

Under the agreement, Lilly will be responsible for future global development and regulatory activities for AK1780. Lilly will pay Asahi Kasei Pharma an upfront payment of $20 million and Asahi Kasei Pharma may be eligible for up to $210 million in potential development and regulatory milestones. Asahi Kasei Pharma will retain the right to promote AK1780 in Japan and China, including Hong Kong and Macau. If AK1780 is successfully commercialized, Asahi Kasei Pharma would be eligible for up to $180 million in potential sales milestones, as well as tiered royalties ranging from the mid-single to low-double digits. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

Source: Eli Lilly and Company and Asahi Kasei Pharma