Incyte buys rights to Eli Lilly’s Ruxolitinib; shares jump
Shares in Incyte Corp (Nasdaq: INCY) soared to close up over 11.5% Wednesday as the company said it has purchased rights to Eli Lilly’s (NYSE: LLY) trial drug to treat bone-marrow or stem-cell transplant disorders for $35 million.
Under the agreement, US-based Eli Lilly could also receive potential additional payments if certain regulatory milestones are met, the company said in a statement.
The drug, ruxolitinib, treats a condition called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The drug is not approved anywhere in the world as treatment for GVHD.
The disorder may occur following the transplant of genetically different stem cells or bone marrow into another body. In GVHD, the donated bone marrow or stem cell view the recipient’s body as a foreign and attack it. There are two forms of GVHD – acute and chronic and it typically affects the skin, digestive tract and liver. GVHD is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in transplant recipients.
Ruxolitinib is part of a class of drugs known as JAK1/JAK2 inhibitors and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat two bone marrow conditions.
The company said it will also amend its agreement with Swiss drug firm Novartis (VTX: NOVN), granting Novartis the rights to develop and market ruxolitinib for GVHD outside the US.
Novartis will make payments to Incyte upon the achievement of certain development and regulatory milestones.
Shares in the company closed up 11.6% at $81.87 Wednesday on the Nasdaq.
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