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Eli Lilly: Licensing and partnership activity

March 08, 2022

With the Fierce Business Development and Licensing Summit for Life Sciences scheduled for mid-March, ResoluteAI examined the licensing and partnership activity of some of the pharmaceutical and life sciences companies planning to attend. Our first post covers Eli Lilly.

To view other life science companies in this series, see Bristol Myers Squibb and Genentech.


Licensing and partnership activity

Eli Lilly has a long history of licensing and partnership activity. The network graph below shows several co-patents with companies like Elan Pharmaceuticals, Ligand Pharmaceuticals, and Athena Neurosciences.

Network graph of Eli Lilly's co-patents by company name and tags (research area)Network graph of Eli Lilly's co-patents by company name and tags (research area)

Eli Lilly has also partnered with and invested in many smaller pharma and biotech companies, as can be seen in the news network graph below, with data courtesy of FinTech Studios

Network graph of pharma and biotech companies Eli Lilly has partnered or invested inNetwork graph of pharma and biotech companies Eli Lilly has partnered with or invested in


A partnership for antibody drug-conjugates

One of their latest partnerships involves ImmunoGen, a small biotech firm focused on cancer therapeutics. ImmunoGen recently announced a long-term licensing deal with the pharmaceutical giant, securing an initial payment of $13 million. ImmunoGen’s primary technology, antibody drug-conjugates or ADCs, have been growing in viability over the past several decades, as researchers sought to lower the unintended toxicity brought upon healthy cells from systemic chemotherapy treatments. Exiting 2021 with $28B in revenue, Eli Lilly’s current investment in ImmunoGen further supports the potential shift to more selectively targeted cancer cell treatments. Ultimately, ImmunoGen could earn up to $1.5 billion from the deal.

While research into ADCs has been ongoing for decades, market size is expected to grow significantly. By pairing a chemotherapy agent with an antibody receptive to tumor cell antigens, the potential to increase cancer treatment efficacy and reduce harmful side effects is enormous. As such, a search of global clinical trial databases demonstrates that the amount of trials being initiated has steadily increased over the past several years. By exporting results from ResoluteAI’s Drugs module, we see that there are a handful of ADCs available for several different cancer types.

Bar graph representing the number of ADC clinical trials by start yearNumber of ADC clinical trials by start year


Currently available ADCs

Brand name Generic name Manufacturers name
Tivdak Tisotumab Vedotin Seagen Inc.
Mylotarg Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin Wyeth Pharmaceuticals LLC a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc
Padcev Ejfv Enfortumab Vedotin Seagen Inc.
Adcetris Brentuximab Vedotin Seagen Inc.
Enhertu Fam-Trastuzumab Deruxtecan-Nxki Daiichi Sankyo Inc.
Kadcyla Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine Genentech Inc.
Polivy Polatuzumab Vedotin Genentech Inc.
Besponsa Inotuzumab Ozogamicin Wyeth Pharmaceuticals LLC a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc


A partnership for metabolic disorders

In addition to ImmunoGen, Eli Lilly recently struck another licensing deal with Shanghai-based Regor Therapeutics. Founded in 2018, Regor Therapeutics closed out their February 2021 Series B round with $90 million, fully funded by Chinese VC firms. As the Sankey diagram shows, Eli Lilly is the first major American pharmaceutical corporation to financially back the company.


Sankey diagram of companies funding Regor Therapeutics

Companies funding Regor Therapeutics

Eli Lilly’s initial investment of $50 million in Regor Therapeutics will support the development of treatments for metabolic disorders. Eli Lilly will also lead the sales of these drugs in most international markets, complementing their robust portfolio of competitive diabetes drugs. Of the eight patents Regor Therapeutics currently has, four represent compounds intended for use in treatments for a set of associated metabolic dysfunctions: obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, prediabetes, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. These conditions are highlighted in the network graph blow, among the other relevant tags and categories for these patents. 

Network graph of Regor Therapeutics patents by category (pink) and research area (blue)Network graph of Regor Therapeutics patents by category (pink) and research area (blue)

You can learn more about Eli Lilly’s licensing process from BD&L speakers Selina Estwick and Michael Myers.

This information was discovered using Foundation, the scientific discovery engine. For more information on Foundation and ResoluteAI’s analytical tools, please contact us at info@resolute.ai or use the link below.


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ResoluteAI is the research platform for science. Foundation lets commercial science enterprises search aggregated scientific, regulatory, and business databases simultaneously. Nebula is our enterprise search tool for science. Combined with our interactive analytics and downloadable visualizations, ResoluteAI helps make connections that lead to breakthrough discoveries. Used in R&D, medical affairs, post market surveillance, and pharmacovigilance by scientific organizations around the world, ResoluteAI won the BCS Search Industry Award for Most Promising Start-Up in 2021.