Arun Sudhaman 29 Aug 2012 // 11:00PM GMT
INDIANAPOLIS--Pharma company Eli Lilly is aiming to bolster agency support for its autoimmune drug franchise as it steps up research and development in the area.
The company is understood to have released an RFP last week to several firms.
Lilly houses its autoimmune franchise within its bio-medicines unit, and currently has several products in development. One is Lipromatase, which is being studied for the treatment of exocrine pancreatic enzyme insufficiency in patients with cystic fibrosis, and is under regulatory review.
Two other drugs are in Phase III trials: ixekizumab, which treats psoriasis; and lupus treatment tabalumab.
In 2009, meanwhile, Lilly paid $90m for the rights to an experimental drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis, as part of an alliance with Incyte.
Lilly hopes that a more robust pipeline will help mitigate the loss of patent exclusivity on Zyprexa, Cymbalta, Evista, and Gemzar.
The company currently works with a number of PR agencies on different aspects of its business, including MSLGroup, Weber Shandwick and inventivHealth.
A Lilly spokesperson declined to comment, noting that the company does not discuss potential agency searches.