AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly announced an agreement to jointly develop and commercialise AZD3293, an innovative potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Lilly will pay AstraZeneca up to $500 mln in development and regulatory milestone payments. The companies will share all future costs equally for the development and commercialisation of the new medicine, as well as net global revenues post-launch.

AZD3293 is an oral, potent and selective small molecule inhibitor of BACE that has been shown in Phase I studies to significantly and dose-dependently reduce levels of amyloid beta in the cerebro-spinal fluid of Alzheimer’s patients and healthy volunteers. Accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain is a typical sign of the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The companies aim to progress the candidate medicine rapidly into a Phase II/III clinical trial in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease.