UPDATE 1-AstraZeneca gets up to $500 mln from Lilly for Alzheimer's drug

Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:16am EDT
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* Lilly to partner on AstraZeneca's BACE inhibitor drug

* Astra expects first $50 mln payment in first half 2015

* Full payout of up to $500 mln dependent on drug's success

* AZD3293 seen high-risk but potential $5 bln-a-year seller (Adds further details on drug, sales forecast, background)

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca has signed a partnership deal with U.S. rival Eli Lilly that could earn the British company up to $500 million if a promising - but risky - experimental Alzheimer's drug proves successful.

AstraZeneca said in May that it was looking to find a partner for its so-called BACE inhibitor drug called AZD3293, which is set to enter late-stage Phase III clinical testing against Alzheimer's..

The decision by Lilly to buy into the project is an endorsement of the science behind the new oral drug, given the U.S. drugmaker's long history of trying to find an effective treatment for the memory-robbing condition.

Lilly will pay AstraZeneca up to $500 million to share rights to the drug, with the exact scale of payments depending on the medicine's progress in clinical trials and its commercial success.   Continued...