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LILLY IS ATHENA NEUROSCIENCES' FIRST CORPORATE PARTNER

Executive Summary

LILLY IS ATHENA NEUROSCIENCES' FIRST CORPORATE PARTNER under a three-year R&D agreement announced Nov. 1. The deal, which covers the development of therapies for Alzheimer's disease, also gives Lilly a near 4%, or 500,000 share, equity position in the privately held biotechnology-based start-up. "Lilly will partially fund a joint research program with Athena to examine the molecular processes that lead to the pathology of Alzheimer's disease," the Athena release explains. "The program will establish laboratory models of these processes, followed by the development of drug discovery programs based on these models." The company said that specific compounds to treat Alzheimer's have not yet been identified. Based in San Carlos, California, privately held Athena Neurosciences is also exploring drug delivery to the central nervous system. Early research is being performed on potential agents for treatment of brain tumors, according to the firm. Founded in 1986, Athena is attempting to integrate advances in molecular biology and biotechnology with new drug discovery and research. John Groom serves as president and chief executive of Athena Neurosciences. Groom spent 25 years with SmithKline, ultimately as president, Smith Kline & French International. He was succeeded in the that position by John Chappell, who assumed responsibility for SmithKline's worldwide pharmaceutical business in October of this year.
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