Eli Lilly ends mid-stage rheumatoid arthritis studies of BTK inhibitor licensed from Hanmi

Eli Lilly halted mid-stage trials of the experimental BTK inhibitor HM71224 in patients with rheumatoid arthritis because it is "unlikely to meet the primary efficacy endpoint," partner Hanmi Pharmaceutical announced. The Korean drugmaker noted that the companies are in talks regarding development of the compound in other autoimmune diseases.

In 2015, Eli Lilly gained global rights to HM71224, excluding China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, under a licensing agreement potentially worth up to $690 million. At the time the deal was signed, the companies indicated that the compound would be investigated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, lupus nephritis and Sjögren's syndrome.

FirstWord reports in this therapy area - KOL Insight Rheumatoid Arthritis: Find out how KOLs expect the market to evolve, which pipeline treatments are most promising, and which clinical trials will shape treatment decisions. Learn more.

Commenting on the news, Hi Investment & Securities analyst Hur Hye-min said "other indications such as lupus or Sjögren's syndrome are being discussed, but there is a possibility of contract termination if they fail to determine which disease the drug will target."

Hur noted that Eli Lilly's decision not to proceed with development of HM71224 in rheumatoid arthritis may have been influenced by recent approvals for its JAK inhibitor Olumiant (baricitinib) in Europe and Japan. "I assume that Eli Lilly had no need to push the clinical study for HM71224 further as Olumiant has started to yield results," Hur remarked.

To read more Top Story articles, click here.