Boehringer Ingelheim and Zealand Pharma said today they will expand their three-year-old collaboration to develop new peptide medicines, with Boehringer agreeing to license one of Zealand’s preclinical therapeutic peptide projects in a deal that could net the Danish company up to €295 million (approximately $396 million).
The companies are already working to develop and commercialize a new glucagon/GLP-1 dual-acting peptide therapeutic designed to treat patients with type 2 diabetes and/or obesity. In their new agreement, Zealand and Boehringer agreed to develop an additional peptide drug against what they called an undisclosed “cardio-metabolic” target, as well as combine their research expertise for up to four and a half years, focused on continued discovery, identification and characterization of new peptide medicine candidates within cardio-metabolic disease.
“This second agreement secures additional funding and attractive value potential to Zealand,” David H. Solomon, Zealand’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Boehringer Ingelheim towards selection of the first preclinical peptide therapeutic to be advanced in development under this new agreement.”
Diabetes is one of eight indications for which Boehringer said in April it planned more than 10 launches of drugs. During 2013, the company submitted the type 2 diabetes treatment empagliflozin for international registration.
Boehringer and Zealand agreed to work together in advancing peptide medicines developed through their collaboration into preclinical development. Boehringer will be responsible for preclinical and clinical development as well as commercialization, and will solely fund the research, development and commercialization of products under the agreement, the companies said.
Boehringer agreed to pay Zealand up to €295 million ($396 million) tied to milestones for the first compound developed and marketed under the collaboration, with the first milestone being initiation of preclinical development. Zealand said it expected to receive €5.6 million ($1.01 million) in such payments this year.
The companies also agreed to set development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. Zealand – which retains co-commercialization rights in Scandinavia – will also be eligible for additional milestone payments for other compounds advanced, as well as for research funding plus tiered royalties on global sales of products stemming from the collaboration.
Zealand stated that the expanded collaboration with Boehringer will add a total of DKK 42 million ($7.6 million) to its revenue and other operating income this year. Zealand raised its full-year revenue guidance to DKK 133 million (nearly $24 million) from DKK 96 million ($17.3 million).