Eli Lilly and Co. could pay more than $570 million to French pharmaceutical company Adocia under an agreement to develop a fast-acting insulin that is in the early stages of clinical testing.
Lilly said Friday that it will pay $50 million upfront and an additional $280 million and $240 million if the insulin reaches some development and sales milestones, respectively. The drugmaker also could pay sales royalties and reimburse for some research and development costs.
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Lilly, in return, is responsible for developing, making and selling the insulin, which is named BioChaperone Lispro.
The ultra-rapid insulin aims to treat people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes by improving glucose levels during and after meals.
Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body either does not make enough insulin to break down the sugar in foods or uses insulin inefficiently. It can cause early death or serious complications like blindness, a stroke, kidney disease or heart disease.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. In those cases, the body does not produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, the body does not use insulin properly.
Demand for drugs that treat diabetes is climbing as rising instances of obesity are linked with an explosion of diabetes cases globally. Insulins are a key revenue generator for Lilly, which is based in Indianapolis.
Shares of Lilly closed at $72.45 on Thursday and have climbed 42 percent so far this year.