Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) has agreed to acquire Connecticut-based biopharmaceutical company Loxo Oncology in an all-cash deal worth $8bn.
Loxo Oncology is engaged in the development and commercialization of highly selective drug candidates for patients with genomically defined cancers.
The company is developing targeted drugs that are dependent on single gene abnormalities that can be detected by genomic testing. For patients with cancers that harbor the genomic alterations, a targeted medicine can potentially treat the cancer with dramatic effect, said Lilly.
Lilly Oncology president Anne White said: “The acquisition of Loxo Oncology represents an exciting and immediate opportunity to expand the breadth of our portfolio into precision medicines and target cancers that are caused by specific gene abnormalities.
“The ability to target tumor dependencies in these populations is a key part of our Lilly Oncology strategy. We look forward to continuing to advance the pioneering scientific innovation begun by Loxo Oncology.”
Loxo Oncology’s portfolio of approved and investigational drugs includes LOXO-292, LOXO-305, Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) and LOXO-195.
LOXO-292 is an oral RET inhibitor, which holds the Breakthrough Therapy designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for three indications. The drug has an initial potential launch in 2020.
LOXO-305, on the other hand, is an oral BTK inhibitor, which is presently in phase 1/2. The investigational drug targets cancers with alterations to the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK).
LOXO-195 is a follow-on TRK inhibitor which is being studied by Loxo Oncology and Bayer for acquired resistance to TRK inhibition. The drug candidate has a potential launch in 2022.
Vitrakvi, which was jointly developed and commercialized with Bayer, is an oral TRK inhibitor that has been approved in the US in November 2018. The approval for the oncology drug is for the treatment of solid tumors with neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase (NTRK) gene fusions in adult and pediatric patients.
As per the terms of the deal, Lilly will acquire all the shares of Loxo Oncology at $235.00 per share. The transaction is anticipated to be completed by the end of the first quarter of this year, depending on meeting of customary closing conditions such as receipt of regulatory approvals and approval of Loxo Oncology’s shareholders.
Loxo Oncology chief operating officer Jacob Van Naarden said: “We are excited to have reached this agreement with a team that shares our commitment to ensuring that emerging translational science reaches patients in need.
“We are confident that the work we have started, which includes an FDA approved drug, and a pipeline spanning from Phase 2 to discovery, will continue to thrive in Lilly’s hands.”
In May 2018, Lilly agreed to acquire Canadian cancer drug developer AurKa Pharma for $575m. In the same month, the pharma giant signed a deal of around $1.6bn to acquire Armo BioSciences, a US-based late-stage immuno-oncology company.