DAVE RICKS TAKES LILLY’S HELM
John Lechleiter retires as CEO
At the end of 2016 John Lechleiter retired as president and chief executive officer of Lilly, a post he held
since 2008. He joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development. In the mid-
1980s he served as director of pharmaceutical product development for the Lilly Research Centre Limited in England.
He later held roles in project management, regulatory affairs, product development, and pharma operations. In 2005,
he was named president and chief operating officer and joined the board of directors.
Mr. Lechleiter’s successor is Dave Ricks, who has served as president and chief executive officer of Lilly since January 1, 2017. He became chairman of the board of directors on June 1, 2017. A 20-year Lilly veteran, Mr. Ricks served
as president of Lilly Bio-Medicines from 2012 to 2016. Previously, he was president of Lilly USA, the company’s largest
affiliate, from 2009 to 2012. He served as president and general manager of Lilly China, operating in one of the world’s
fastest-growing emerging markets, from 2008 to 2009. He was also general manager of Lilly Canada from 2005 to 2008, after roles as
director of pharmaceutical marketing and national sales director in that country. Mr. Ricks joined Lilly in 1996 as a business development
associate and held several management roles in U.S. marketing and sales before moving to Lilly Canada.
severe plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and Olaratumab
(Lartruvo), a human lgG1 monoclonal antibody for the treatment
of advanced soft tissue sarcoma.
During the year, Lilly continued its successful Alzheimer’s disease collaboration with AstraZeneca. It received Fast Track designation from the FDA for the AZD3293 development program, an
oral beta secretase cleaving enzyme (BACE) inhibitor currently in
Phase III trials. The FDA’s Fast Track program is designed to expedite the development and review of new therapies to treat serious
conditions and tackle key unmet medical needs.
AZD3293 has been shown in Phase I studies to reduce levels of amyloid beta in the cerebro-spinal fluid of people with Alzheimer’s and healthy volunteers. The progression of Alzheimer’s
disease is characterized by the accumulation of amyloid plaque in
the brain. BACE is an enzyme associated with the development
of amyloid beta and inhibiting BACE is expected to prevent the
formation of amyloid plaque and eventually slow the progression
of the disease.
AstraZeneca received a $100 million milestone payment from
Lilly now that AZD3293 has moved into Phase III testing in the
The two companies also announced the planned initiation of
a new Phase III trial for AZD3293, named Daybreak,which will
study the safety and efficacy of AZD3293 in people with mild Alzheimer’s dementia.
The alliance between the two companies was formed in
2014 for the development and commercialization of AZD3293/
LY3314814. Lilly leads clinical development, working with
researchers from AstraZeneca’s neuroscience research and
development team, while AstraZeneca is responsible for
manufacturing. The companies have joint responsibility for
commercialization of the molecule and will share all future
costs equally for development and commercialization, as well
as net global revenues post-launch.
In another Alzheimer’s alliance, Lilly and AstraZeneca are co-developing MEDI1814, an antibody selective for amyloid-beta 42
(Aβ42), which is in Phase I development. AstraZeneca received a
$30 million upfront payment from Lilly.
In another clinical trial collaboration, Lilly and Boehringer
Ingelheim teamed up to battle metastatic breast cancer. The collaboration will evaluate the safety and tolerability of abemaciclib (LY2835219), Lilly’s cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4 and
CDK 6 inhibitor, in combination with BI 836845, Boehringer’s
insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1/IGF-2 ligand neutralizing
antibody, in patients diagnosed with HR+, HER2- mBC. Based
on the Phase Ib trial results, the collaboration has the potential
to expand to Phase II trials in patients with HR+, HER2- mBC
and other solid tumors.
Lilly’s abemaciclib is designed to block the growth of cancer
cells by specifically inhibiting CDK 4 and CDK 6. In many cancers, uncontrolled cell growth arises from a loss of control in regulating the cell cycle due to increased signaling from CDK 4 and
CDK 6. Boehringer’s BI 836845 is an IGF ligand-neutralizing antibody that binds to both IGF-1 and IGF-2 preventing activation
of the respective receptor, resulting in decreased growth-promot-ing signaling, which may decrease tumor growth. In a Phase Ib/
II trial, BI 836845 has shown promising preliminary efficacy and
good clinical safety in combination with everolimus and exemes-tane in patients with HR+ mBC.
The rationale for the collaboration is based upon the hypothesis that these two agents, in combination, could offer a more
complete pathway interference and could potentially prolong cell
cycle arrest. For HR+, HER2- mBC patients, this could translate
to a reversal of resistance to hormone therapy.
Lastly, Regen BioPharma entered into an agreement with Lilly
to receive compounds for drug discovery purposes and allows
Regen to share structural information on compounds of mutual
interest. Regen will examine 21,000 Lilly compounds in its NR2F6
high-throughput screening program to identify activators and inhibitors of this protein. NR2F6 is a molecular switch known as an
“orphan nuclear receptor,” which controls genes associated with
the immune response as well as genes associated with the ability
of cancer stem cells to propagate. Lilly has an option to negotiate a compound purchase agreement, a license agreement, or a
research collaboration agreement for further research and development of material of mutual interest. CP