As Lilly's Senior Vice President, Corporate Business Development, Darren Carroll oversees all strategic corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, business collaborations, private equity investments, and out-partnering with the ultimate goal of finding molecules and technologies that can add value to Lilly’s pipeline. I had a chance to catch up with Darren at the 2015 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, where he shared his team’s approach to building new partnerships to help speed the delivery of breakthrough medicines to patients.
What brings you to JP Morgan Healthcare Conference?
Today’s healthcare challenges are complex and the unmet need is great. Given the breadth of our ambitions at Lilly, we have to recognize that we can’t do it alone --- nobody can. Here’s what we can do: We can leverage our decades of scientific excellence to find innovation wherever it might be. We can also use novel approaches to partnerships to bring medicines to the people who need them. JP Morgan offers a great opportunity to learn more about other interesting molecules and other technologies being developed, and to see if there is the potential for future collaboration.
What is Lilly’s approach to partnerships?
Our approach is to efficiently and creatively connect technology, resources and expertise. There is no “one size fits all” approach. Working with our partners and based on each partner’s needs, we create a custom, flexible approach that leverages complementary strengths. For our partners, Lilly is often the source of scientific expertise and development capabilities that help to shape the future of their R&D programs.
Very often, people think of a business development deal as a “hand off” to Lilly. We work closely with our partners over a period of years to usher new ideas from discovery to development and commercialization. Success usually comes from close integration.
Can you give us an example?
As Lilly seeks to expand its presence in autoimmunity, our partnership with Incyte has provided a foundation for future success. Incyte’s oral inhibitor represents a new class of oral anti-inflammatory therapies with the potential to improve treatment for people suffering from anti-inflammatory and immunology diseases.
Leveraging Lilly’s expertise in bringing novel molecules to market quickly and cost effectively, Lilly entered into an exclusive license and collaboration agreement for the development and commercialization of Incyte’s primary oral inhibitor, called the JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor and certain follow-on molecules — potentially an entire franchise of therapies.
The agreement gives Lilly worldwide commercialization rights to the JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor. In turn, Incyte received an upfront payment, with the potential for future milestone and sales royalty payments.
And what about early stage research? Is this also an interest?
Absolutely. We have several early stage research initiatives and collaborations underway. As part Lilly’s overall Research and Development strategy, we focus on “hot spots” of innovation. Regional collaborations link outstanding science with the expertise of Lilly scientists. Strengths across the collaboration can be leveraged to form new companies focused on a single product or a platform to develop potential new medicines. Here’s an example: New York City is home to a number of premier life science universities and has the highest number of publications of any metropolitan area in the U.S. Lilly's R&D site in New York City works to discover and advance a diverse oncology pipeline, and is critical in building our relationships with New York area institutions. Lilly is also limited partner in both the City of New York Early-Stage Life Sciences Fund and the Accelerator IV Fund; each of these funds will create new companies based on innovation in these same institutions.
What types of molecules or other technologies are on your radar?
Lilly is relentless in our search for innovation that can help make life better for people around the world. Our approach to finding external innovation has to leverage Lilly’s strengths, like the deep technical expertise found in Lilly Research Laboratories. We’re focused on potential medicines that are novel, tailored and differentiated in our primary therapeutic areas of interest: diabetes, oncology, neurodegeneration, and two emerging areas based on research opportunities and clinical data: immunology and pain.
How can people learn more about partnering with Lilly?
To find out more about partnering with Lilly, visit our “External Innovation Partnering” website.