Valuable licensing deal for faculty spin-off Acrux

March 2010

Acrux has signed an exclusive global licensing deal with Eli Lilly for the commercialisation of its experimental testosterone solution AXIRONTM. The deal is valued at more than US$335 million in milestone payments, plus royalties.

"The AXIRONTM licence agreement with Eli Lilly is believed to be the largest licensing deal ever struck by an Australian biotech company," said Acrux's chairman Ross Dobinson.

Recognised for its innovative technology for administering drugs through the skin, Acrux is a spin-off from Monash University. The biotech company was established in 1998 after its spray-on drug delivery technology was discovered by faculty researchers Emeritus Professor Barry Reed, Dr Tim Morgan and Professor Barrie Finnin.

"This is an important step in bringing the benefits of discoveries in transdermal drug delivery made at Monash to the public at large," said Professor Finnin.

This global agreement places Acrux firmly on the path of becoming the first Australian biotech company to introduce a number of therapeutic products into global pharmaceutical markets, including EllavieTM, which is used to treat menopause symptoms.

"We are delighted to build on our established relationship with Lilly," said Dr Richard Tragus, chief executive officer for Acrux. "Through Lilly's considerable global resources and leadership position in the field of men's health, Acrux now has the opportunity to achieve the full commercial potential of AXIRONTM."

Currently under regulatory review by the US Food and Drug Administration, AXIRONTM is an experimental transdermal male testosterone replacement therapy that utilises Acrux's patented delivery technology, which is being developed for the treatment of low testosterone in men (hypogonadism).

Applied to the armpit like a deodorant, AXIRONTM uses a specially designed applicator that ensures patients avoid direct hand contact with the drug formulation, and eliminates mess and stickiness. The fast-drying properties, discreet application site and ‘no touch' features could make it an attractive new option for patients.

"Lilly hopes to leverage our experience in men's health to advance both science and clinical outcomes," said Bryce Carmine, president of Lilly's Bio-Medicines. "AXIRONTM has the potential to be the first testosterone solution to be applied via an underarm applicator for patients who have testosterone deficiency."