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16 January 2020Big PharmaEdward Pearcey

Eli Lilly to acquire Dermira for $1.1 billion

Global healthcare provider Eli Lilly has agreed to buy Dermira, a biopharmaceutical company, for $1.1 billion, giving it access to a late-stage atopic dermatitis drug and allowing it to challenge Sanofi’s already fully-licenced dupilumab.

Lilly will acquire Dermira (including lebrikizumab, Dermira’s immunology still-in-development treatment for atopic dermatitis, or eczema) for $18.75 per share, it was announced on 10 January.

Dermira, which develops treatments and therapies for chronic skin conditions, recently started a Phase 3 trial for lebrikizumab, a “novel, investigational, monoclonal antibody designed to bind IL-13 with high affinity,” said a statement from Lilly.

In 2017, Sanofi’s dupilumab became the first biologic drug approved in atopic dermatitis, and has seen a rapid uptake in new users. Dupilumab is already licenced in the EU for adults who are candidates for systemic therapy.

“This acquisition provides an opportunity to add a promising Phase 3 immunology compound for atopic dermatitis, while also adding an approved dermatology treatment for primary axillary hyperhidrosis, said Patrik Jonsson, president of Lilly’s bio-medicines division.

“The acquisition of Dermira is consistent with Lilly’s strategy to augment our own internal research by acquiring clinical phase assets in our core therapeutic areas and leveraging our development expertise and commercial infrastructure to bring new medicines to patients,” added Patrik.

According to a statement from Lilly, the acquisition of Dermira will also expand Lilly’s portfolio of marketed dermatology medicines with the addition of the Qbrexza (glycopyrronium) cloth, a medicated cloth approved by the FDA for the topical treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis (uncontrolled and excessive underarm sweating).

Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Dermira.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Lebrikizumab was granted a fast track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2019.

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