Program Overview

By providing a platform for idea-sharing, Open Innovation Drug Discovery lowers the barrier for collaborations between investigators working inside and outside an organization. Free exchange of ideas between investigators across traditionally impregnable organizational walls contributes to the advancement of Science.

Through prior experience with the Phenotypic Drug Discovery program (PD2), Lilly has established a network with academic and biotech investigators outside our walls to provide them access to proprietary, disease-relevant phenotypic assays. Today, we expand this partnership with top global research talent by adding sophisticated in vitro target-based assays (TargetD2) through our Open Innovation Drug Discovery program.

We hope that investigators from all over the world will take advantage of this resource and that it will open new venues to test novel therapeutic hypotheses and deepen our understanding of complex biological systems. Through this initiative and others like it, our steadfast goal remains focused on the discovery of novel therapeutics that will improve patients' lives. This is our ultimate measure of success.

Open Innovation Drug Discovery at a Glance

Lilly is dedicated to the goal of becoming part of a Fully Integrated Pharmaceutical Network (FIPNet). A key part of this transformation is to expand the level of collaborative research with universities, institutes, and biotech to fuel innovative discovery.

The PD2 initiative was conceived as a complementary approach to internal efforts in the discovery of new medicines targeting cancer, neurological disorders, and metabolic diseases. We now offer selected target-based assays (TargetD2) through our fully integrated Open Innovation Drug Discovery website, allowing external investigators enhanced access to Lilly's science at no cost to the submitting institution.

Highlights of the Open Innovation Drug Discovery program:

  • Lilly provides no-cost access to internal assay panel for external investigators in therapeutic areas of strategic interest
  • Screening panel includes phenotypic disease-relevant assays (PD2) as well as selected target-based assays (TargetD2)
  • Use of Lilly state-of-the-art computational tools for structure design available to participants
  • Confidential compound submission via web-based interface
  • Full data report provided to investigator
  • Promising findings can serve as basis for a collaboration agreement
  • Participants may have the additional option to participate in the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative

Lilly has a long history of developing innovative medicines in collaboration with academia and biotechnology companies. As early as the 1920s, Lilly developed key technology in partnership with University of Toronto investigators that led to the world's first commercial supply of insulin. More contemporary examples of successful partnerships include a first line therapeutic for mesothelioma, and a novel injectable for diabetes. Our vision is to expand these types of partnerships.

Through the Open Innovation Drug Discovery interface, external investigators securely upload and submit structures of their compounds to be evaluated for novelty and reasonable drug-like characteristics. Should a molecule be selected, investigators are invited to submit the physical sample to Lilly for testing in both phenotypic and target-based panels. In exchange for the submission, the investigator receives a full report of all the biological data generated. Once testing is completed, Lilly evaluates the data and determines whether to initiate discussions on the relevant next steps.

Additionally, the improved Open Innovation Drug Discovery platform also allows Lilly to offer participants access to state-of-the-art computational tools to facilitate the design of molecular structures displaying a particular set of molecular properties or suited to a particular target prior to submission for evaluation. Our Computational Suite may include physical property calculators, docking models, activity prediction models, etc. The ideas of our participants are fully protected during the modeling process, and the IP rights to any structures generated by the user with our tools remain with the submitter at all times.

Finally, the Open Innovation Drug Discovery program also includes access to the state-of-the-art TB assay models run by the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) as part of the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative. Participant compounds may be selected for testing at IDRI, and promising results may provide the institution an opportunity for optional participation in the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Compounds will be submitted under the conditions of a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA). All IP rights will remain with the investigator or institution, both for submitted compounds as well as for structures generated using computational tools. A collaboration agreement may be established pending evaluation of the results and mutual interest of both parties. If there is no resulting agreement, the investigator can publish all biological data under the terms of the MTA. Confidential compound submission and access to biological reports are all available through the Open Innovation Drug Discovery site.

For more information refer to:
Open Innovation Drug Discovery brochure
Open Innovation Drug Discovery Executive Summary

Program Benefits

Institutions are under no obligation to submit compounds to Lilly, or to enter into any further agreements with Lilly beyond the scope of the Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) and Terms of Use of the website. However, the Open Innovation Drug Discovery program may offer an opportunity for an institution to partner with Lilly in discovering new drugs.

Furthermore, participants are encouraged - but not required – to take advantage of our Computational Suite to design molecular structures displaying a particular set of molecular properties or suited to a particular target prior to submission to the Informatics Screening.

Likewise, for those investigators whose compounds are selected for screening in tuberculosis assays at IDRI, promising results may provide the institution an opportunity for optional participation in the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative.

Access to increased
molecular diversity
Access to highly relevant assay modules and publication quality biological data to test hypotheses
Ability to identify and establish potential collaborations Establish possible collaboration with Lilly. Increased access to resources
Bring forward innovation Advance laboratory science
Close Partnership with AUTM
(Association of University Technology Managers)