Cadila Healthcare Ltd., a research-oriented pharmaceutical company in India belonging to Zydus group, said it has inked a new drug discovery and development pact with Eli Lilly and Co. focused in the area of cardiovascular research. The collaborative research programme may continue for a span of up to six years.

As part of the agreement, Cadila Healthcare will receive up to $300 million in milestone payments and royalties on sales upon the successful launch of any compounds derived from the research programme. Lilly will have an option to license any resulting molecules at different stages

The Ahmedabad-based company said this alliance seeks to increase productivity in drug discovery and development by synergizing the unique strengths of both companies.

Cadila Healthcare will work to discover and develop potential molecules against a novel agent, primarily in the area of cardiovascular research. Zydus will initiate the drug discovery, lead identification and optimization, and conduct pre-clinical studies and clinical trials up to Phase II Human Proof-of-Concept.

On the other hand, Lilly will provide chemical starting points as well as expertise and feedback regarding toxicology, ADME, chemistry, biology, clinical and regulatory aspects as needed to potentially increase the probability of success of the programme.

Pankaj R. Patel, Chairman and Managing Director of Zydus Cadila, said, We have built strong discovery and development capabilities in the cardiometabolic disease area and this is wonderful opportunity to unite efforts, share expertise, complement strengths and develop new potential cardiovascular therapies. We are delighted to embark on this programme with Lilly and create a new benchmark in collaborative research programmes.

M.D. William Chin, Vice President of discovery research and clinical investigation at Lilly, commented, We look forward to working with Zydus in this novel discovery collaboration. We believe Zydus has unique capabilities to discover and advance these candidates through early development, as we are excited to explore this innovative drug discovery and development model with them.

At the BSE, Cadila Healthcare shares are currently trading at Rs.276.05, up by Rs.19.15 or 7.45% on a volume of 1.89 lakh shares. The company's scrip touched an intraday high of Rs.297.00 and an intraday low of Rs.260.00.

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