Eli Lilly to buy Loxo Oncology in deal worth $8 billion

pharmafile | January 7, 2019 | News story | Manufacturing and Production Cancer, Eli Lilly, Loxo Oncology, gene therapy, personalised medicine 

US firm Eli Lilly & Co today announced a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Connecticut-based company Loxo Oncology in a deal worth $8 billion.

Lilly will acquire biopharmaceutical firm Loxo, which is focused on the development and commercialization of highly selective medicines for patients with genomically defined cancers, at a cost of $253 a share, representing a premium of about 68%.

The acquisition will be the largest of a series of transactions undertaken by Lilly as it seeks to broaden its cancer treatment efforts with externally sourced opportunities for first-in-class and best-in-class therapies.

Developing a pipeline of targeted medicines focused on cancers that are uniquely dependent on single gene abnormalities that can be detected by genomic testing, Loxo has a promising portfolio of approved and investigational medicines.

Regulators last year approved Loxo’s first commercial medicine, Vitrakvi, which was shown to be effective against a wide variety of cancers driven by a single, rare genetic mutation. The medicine is currently sold in partnership with German multinational Bayer AG.

“Using tailored medicines to target key tumor dependencies offers an increasingly robust approach to cancer treatment,” said Dr Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “Loxo Oncology’s portfolio of RET, BTK and TRK inhibitors targeted specifically to patients with mutations or fusions in these genes, in combination with advanced diagnostics that allow us to know exactly which patients may benefit, creates new opportunities to improve the lives of people with advanced cancer.”

While shares in Loxo surged by as much as 32.8% on announcement of the deal, shares in Lilly dropped by 2.7%.

Louis Goss

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