Monday, June 15, 2009

Lilly To Use Web To Collaborate With Outsiders On New Drugs


Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) will use a Web portal to collaborate with researchers around the world in an effort to discover drugs to treat cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

The move comes as many pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to boost their drug pipelines, especially as new generic versions of their former blockbusters are released.

Lilly's shares were recently down 1.2% at $33.88 in premarket trading amid a broader market decline.

The pharmaceutical giant will launch the Lilly Phenotypic Drug Discovery Initiative, using a Web portal to evaluate the potential of compounds created in university and biotechnology laboratories.

The company said findings from the plan could be used as the basis for collaboration or licensing agreements between Lilly and external institutions.

Alan Palkowitz, vice president of discovery chemistry and research technology at Lilly, said every year, researchers design and synthesize compounds that aren't fully evaluated as potential drug candidates.

Lilly's program is designed to allow global researchers a more convenient entry point into the company's drug discovery and development process.

Researchers confidentially submit the structure of their compound for review using algorithms focused on drug-like properties. If the compound meets certain criteria, the researchers can submit a sample for biological testing.

Lilly will then provide the researchers a report with the compound's profile for Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. In return for the data, Lilly will get the first rights to negotiate a collaboration or licensing agreement.

-By Kerry E. Grace, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5089; kerry.grace@

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