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2020 has been a dreadful year for most of the world – burdened by the outbreak and consequences of COVID-19. Despite this, there has been a steady stream of biotech acquisitions related to Parkinson’s which have helped to keep morale high in the PD research community.
In October alone, we saw the Portuguese pharmaceutical company Bial purchase GBA-associated Parkinson’s biotech firm Lysosomal Therapeutics (Click here to read more about this) and the acquisition of the inflammasome-focused biotech firm Inflazome was being bought by Roche (Click here to read more about this).
In today’s post, we will explore what Prevail Therapeutics does, why Eli Lilly might be so interested in this company, and why it could be an encouraging move for individuals with a sub-type of Parkinson’s.
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Colonel Eli Lilly. Source: SS
The civil war veteran, Colonel Eli Lilly started his pharmaceutical career in a drug store in Greencastle (Indiana) in 1869.
Several years later (in 1873) he shifted into the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals (in association with John F Johnston). Two years after that, Lily disolved their partnership, sold his assets, and used the proceeds to set up “Eli Lilly and Co” in Indianapolis.
He started the company in a rented building on the 10th May, 1876. He was 38 years old, with working capital of $1400 and just three employees. The first medicine that he produced was quinine – a drug used to treat malaria.
Since that humble start, the company (now more commonly known as just “Lilly”) has grown to become one of the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world (Source), with offices in 18 countries and products sold in 125 countries (Source).
Lilly was the first company to mass-produce the polio vaccine and it was also one of the first pharmaceutical companies to produce human insulin using recombinant DNA. Lilly is currently the largest manufacturer of psychiatric medications, including Prozac (Source).
Today, the company employs approximately 38,000 people worldwide, and operates through two key business divisions:
- Human Pharmaceutical Products, which involves the production and sale of prescription medications in the fields of endocrinology, oncology, cardiovascular health, and neuroscience
- Animal Health Products, comprising the development and sale of treatments for domestic and farm animals
This is all very interesting, but what does any of it have to do with Parkinson’s?
This week the biotech world was alerted to the news that Eli Lilly was purchasing a biotech company that is focused on developing a novel treatment for a subtype of Parkinson’s.
That company is called Prevail Therapeutics.