Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT) is looking to bolster its position in the Parkinson’s disease market via a collaboration with Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) to develop a system to deliver drug therapies directly to the brain.
Under the terms of the deal, Medtronic will develop a drug pump and specially designed catheter to deliver a biologic therapy made by Lilly. The biologic, a modified form of glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor, will be consistently delivered to the brain over time by the Medtronic pump. The companies said the therapy has the potential to “impact the neuro-degeneration that leads to worsening symptoms and progression of Parkinson’s disease,” according to a prepared release.
An estimated four million to six million individuals across the globe suffer from Parkinson’s disease, according to the National Parkinson’s Foundation.
Medtronic is already heavily involved in the Parkinson’s market with its Activa DBS products, which are designed to help suppress tremors in patients suffering from the neurological disorder. Sales of the device helped boost Medtronic’s neuromodulation business by 2 percent during the three months ended Jan. 28 and 1 percent for the year to date.
Total sales for the unit amounted to $401 million for the third quarter and $1.15 billion for the nine-month period, according to regulatory filings.
The company says it has implanted DBS devices in more than 80,000 patients across the globe.