Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. said Monday it will work with some private investors to create a privately held biotechnology company to sell the severe sepsis treatment Xigris and possibly develop other drugs.
The Indianapolis company did not disclose terms of the deal with investors Care Capital and NovaQuest Capital, which establishes a company named BioCritica Inc.
BioCritica will receive U.S. development and commercialization rights for Xigris and rights to acquire several Lilly critical care compounds in pre-clinical development. BioCritica also has an option to acquire development and commercialization rights to Xigris outside the United States.
Lilly, in turn, will receive royalties on future U.S. Xigris sales and an equity stake in BioCritica, which will be based in central Indiana.
Xigris was approved in 2001 to treat severe sepsis in adults at high risk of death. Severe sepsis is blood poisoning caused by an aggressive bacterial infection that can cause major organ failure. About 200,000 people in the United States die every year from it, according to Lilly.
Xigris generated $57.3 million in U.S. sales last year and $104 million worldwide.
Analysts initially thought the drug could become a breakthrough treatment for sepsis that reaches $1 billion in annual sales, Standard & Poor's analyst Herman Saftlas said.
But regulators approved Xigris for a narrower patient population than many expected, and it never approached that mark.
Lilly shares fell 11 cents to $38.33 in afternoon trading.