Eli Lilly today said it was launching a pair of collaborations with research institutions focused on developing new cancer therapies. The value of both partnerships was undisclosed.

Lilly has entered into a strategic partnership with Sarah Cannon Research Institute to co-develop a clinical-stage small molecule oncology candidate, LY3023414.

LY3023414 targets the PI3K/mTOR (phosphoinositide 3-kinase/mammalian target of rapamycin) pathway, which regulates cell metabolism, cell growth, cell survival, cell proliferation, and cell motility. The compound is designed to work by blocking the activity of PI3K and mTOR in tumor cells.

Patient enrollment is underway for an initial Phase II clinical trial, Lilly said. Earlier trials have assessed LY3023414 in patients with non-small cell lung cancer and prostate cancer.

According to ClinicalTrials.gov, Lilly was recruiting patients as of June 3 for two Phase II trials assessing LY3023414 in combinations with:

  • The Astellas/Medivation co-marketed drug Xtandi® (enzalutamide) in men with prostate cancer.
  • Another Lilly compound in Phase II, the EGFR antibody necitumumab (IMC-11F8), in patients with metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

LY3023414 is one of 19 compounds in Lilly's current oncology pipeline.

Lilly also said it has begun a three-year partnership with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to study an unspecified number of preclinical and early-stage compounds designed to fight cancer. Investigators from Dana-Farber and Lilly will also carry out molecular studies of patient samples, and collaborate on the design and conduct of clinical trials.

The collaboration also allows Dana-Farber scientists to conduct independent studies on select Lilly compounds, which will remain fully-owned by the pharma giant.

“Lilly's partnership with Dana-Farber demonstrates an open, collaborative research approach—uniting the expertise of the pharmaceutical industry with that of a leading academic cancer research institution,” Richard Gaynor, M.D., svp, product development and medical affairs, Lilly Oncology, said in a statement.

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