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15 May 2018Americas

Eli Lilly to acquire cancer drug developer

Eli Lilly has revealed plans to acquire Montreal-based AurKa Pharma, in what is the company’s second acquisition in less than one week.

On Monday, May 14, Eli Lilly said it would acquire AurKa to develop oncology compound AK-01, an Aurora kinase A inhibitor that was originally discovered at Eli Lilly.

“Aurora kinases are believed to play a crucial role in cellular division by controlling chromosomal segregation,” said the press release. “Defects in segregation can cause genetic instability, a condition highly associated with the formation of tumours.”

In 2016, Eli Lilly sold the compound to TVM Capital Life, which then established AurKa as part of the TVM Life Science Ventures VII fund.

Darren Carroll, senior vice president of corporate business development at Eli Lilly, said that the acquisition supports the firm’s innovation strategy, in which Eli Lilly seeks to partner with life sciences venture capital firms to “identify, support and access promising innovation in areas of unmet medical need”.

Under the agreement, Eli Lilly will pay $110 million to AurKa shareholders. The shareholders are eligible to receive up to $465 million in milestones if AK-01 gains approval.

According to Levi Garraway, senior vice president, global development and medical affairs, Eli Lilly oncology, the acquisition expands the pipeline with a “promising oncology compound targeting a distinct cell cycle pathway”.

Late last week, Eli Lilly announced plans to buy late-stage immuno-oncology company Armo BioSciences for $1.6 billion.

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More on this story

Americas
11 May 2018   Eli Lilly has set its sights on Armo BioSciences in a bid to strengthen its immuno-oncology programme.
Big Pharma
23 August 2018   Pharmaceutical company AbbVie has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with biotech group Argenx to develop and commercialise immuno-oncology antibody ARGX-115.
Americas
7 January 2019   American pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company has announced a deal to acquire Loxo Oncology in a $8 billion deal.