Deal calls for an up-front payment, and success-based fees could reach $46 million.

Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals obtained rights to Altea Therapeutics’ transdermal exenatide. Altea will receive an up-front fee and up to $46 million in developmental, regulatory, and sales milestones. The deal also includes an equity investment in Altea.

The companies supported Altea’s Phase I type 2 diabetes study of the exenatide transdermal patch, which uses Altea’s PassPort® Transdermal Delivery System. With exclusive, worldwide rights covering development and commercialization, Lilly and Amylin will now fund all product development, manufacturing, and marketing activities. Altea is entitled to royalties on future product sales.

The exenatide transdermal patch is being designed to be applied once per day to provide sustained levels of exenatide for people with type 2 diabetes. Exenatide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, is marketed as an add-on injectable therapy given twice a day to improve glucose control as Byetta. Net product sales during the first nine months of 2008 was $515.9 million for Byetta.

The product is also under FDA review as a monotherapy. Additionally, Amylin and Lilly are investigating exenatide as a once-weekly injection in Phase III using Alkermes’ delivery technology and as a nasal spray in Phase I.

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