Lilly Enlists Boehringer for Duloxetine
A $280 million deal with Eli Lilly for duloxetine allows Boehringer Ingelheim to expand its presence in both urology and CNS--thanks to Lilly's deluge of near-market therapeutics, which has required the firm for the first time to enter a significant co-promotion deal for one of its own important products.
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Lilly's co-promotion with Boehringer Ingelheim of duloxetine is the first time the American company has signed a major marketing deal for one of its own products. The company notes the collaboration is part of its broad commitment to partnering and that the market is intensely competitive. But the choice of duloxetine--the launch of which may be delayed indefinitely because of manufacturing problems--also represents Lilly's lowest-risk option for subsidizing the launches, and maximizing the returns from, potentially eight new products over the next few years.
Boehringer Ingelheim's new COPD treatment, Spiriva, could be a blockbuster--particularly if its worldwide marketing partner Pfizer can increase diagnosis of the disease and expand COPD drugs' prescribing base from specialists to GPs. But, complicating matters for Boehringer, Pfizer--through its proposed acquisition of Pharmacia--will also market the PDE-4 inhibitor roflumilast, Altana's next-generation COPD therapy.