Eli Lilly, the US-based global pharmaceutical company, has announced one of its experimental diabetes drugs is to be developed and marketed in China.
Lilly said it has teamed up Beijing’s Yabao Pharmaceutical Co to develop and sell the drug codenamed LY2608204, which has completed early-stage Phase I trials in the USA following “extensive pre-clinical development”.
LY2608204 belongs to a class of anti-diabetic agents called glucokinase activators, which according to the companies are designed to work in a unique way to bring blood sugar levels under control.
The idea is that the activator promotes insulin secretion and reduces glucose production in the liver, a combination that “may exert powerful anti-hyperglycemic effects, even in patients who are relatively unresponsive to other oral drugs.”
Under the terms of the new alliance, Yabao has the rights to develop and commercialise the experimental medication in China and will initially perform and fund all development, with Lilly having future buy-in options for China.
Peng Wang, head of research and development at Yabao, said that Lilly’s glucokinase activator has the “potential to be best-in-class”, adding that the pharmaceutical brings “strong clinical and regulatory capabilities” to this “ground-breaking partnership”.

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