Eli Lilly And Company Announces New Drug Discovery Initiative

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16th June 2009, 02:33am - Views: 775

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Eli Lilly and Company Announces New Drug Discovery Initiative

INDIANAPOLIS, June 15 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

          Goal is to foster open collaboration between Lilly and global

                           laboratory researchers

    Alzheimer's disease. Cancer. Diabetes. Osteoporosis.

    These are the diseases for which Eli Lilly and Company will be engaging

researchers from around the world in a new and unique drug discovery


    The initiative, called the Lilly Phenotypic Drug Discovery Initiative, or

PD2 (pronounced PD-squared)*, uses Lilly-developed disease-state assays and a

secure web portal to evaluate the therapeutic potential of compounds

synthesized in university and biotechnology laboratories. Findings from this

initiative could ultimately form the basis for collaboration or licensing

agreements between Lilly and external institutions.

    "Each year, researchers throughout the world design and synthesize

compounds in university and biotechnology laboratories that are never fully

evaluated as potential drug candidates," said Alan D. Palkowitz, Ph.D., vice

president of discovery chemistry research and technologies at Lilly. "There's

an untapped source of ideas and compounds in the greater scientific community

that could ultimately impact patients' lives following further evaluation and


    Collaborations between Lilly and external researchers are not new;

however, the PD2 initiative is designed to provide a more convenient point of

entry for global external researchers into Lilly's drug discovery and

development process. By doing so, PD2 allows for the establishment of

productive relationships with institutions and organizations that may not

previously have worked with Lilly.

    "Increasingly, innovation depends on a broad network of relationships

outside our walls," said Palkowitz, adding that PD2 is yet another example of

Lilly's evolving transformation from a Fully Integrated Pharmaceutical

Company, or FIPCO, to a Fully Integrated Pharmaceutical Network, or FIPNet.

    Through the automated PD2 interface, researchers confidentially submit a

structure of their compound for an initial computational evaluation using a

set of proprietary Lilly algorithms focused on drug-like properties and

structural novelty. If the compound structure meets certain specified

criteria, the researcher is then invited to submit a physical sample for

biological testing. All testing by Lilly is free, and all intellectual

property rights remain with the submitting researcher and/or institution at

this stage. An objective of PD2 is not to promote a random, high volume

submission of compounds, but rather to encourage the testing of molecules

that represent novel structural diversity and hypotheses that are

thoughtfully considered in light of the biology associated with each assay


    After biological testing is completed, Lilly provides the external

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researchers a data report with a complete biological profile of the compound

across the four assay modules mentioned earlier (Alzheimer's disease, cancer,

diabetes and osteoporosis). Because these data are derived from sophisticated

and systematic in vitro model systems, they provide researchers with broader

assessments of a compound's biological profile than what is generally

available today in academic or government laboratories, said Palkowitz.

    In return for these data, Lilly has first rights to exclusively negotiate

a collaboration or licensing agreement with submitters of those compounds

that demonstrate biological activity that Lilly would like to further

explore. If there is no agreement within a defined time period, the

researcher is granted no-strings-attached ownership of the data report and

can choose to use it in publication or grant proposals, or to further refine

structural hypotheses, all of which may advance scientific discovery.

    One of the external experts who consulted with Lilly on the development

and testing of PD2 is Peter Wipf, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of

chemistry and professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of

Pittsburgh. He said that, for researchers not employed at a pharmaceutical

company, the major potential benefits of PD2 include the ability to test

compounds in well-validated assays, the comprehensive nature of the data

reports and the opportunity to exchange ideas and hypotheses with Lilly

experts on compounds of interest.

    "I'm looking for drug discovery experts who can critically evaluate the

data on my compounds and engage me in discussing their immediate potential

for optimization and perhaps their ultimate impact on specific areas of human

health with unmet medical need," said Wipf.

    The potential benefit for Lilly is increased access to top global

research talent, novel therapeutic hypotheses and rich chemical diversity to

amplify and leverage Lilly's work and expertise in these areas. "We believe

open collaboration with a network of scientists will create new venues to

deepen our understanding of complex biological processes and eventually to

discover novel therapeutics that benefit patients," said William Chin, M.D.,

vice president of discovery research and clinical investigation at Lilly.

"Ultimately, our hope is that the patient will be the biggest winner of all."

    For more information on PD2, please log onto pd2.lilly.com.

    * NOTE: PD2 is pronounced PD-squared.

    About Lilly

    Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing

portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its

own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific

organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -

through medicines and information - for some of the world's most urgent

medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at


SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company

    CONTACT: Judy Kay Moore, Eli Lilly and Company, +1-317-277-6265


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