M&A News: Novartis, Lilly & More

The latest news on mergers and acquisitions featuring Lilly/Versanis and Novartis/DTx Pharma. Highlights below. 

* Lilly To Acquire Bio/Pharma Company Versanis in $1.9-Bn Deal 
* Novartis Acquires Bio/Pharma Company DTx Pharma for $500 M 

Lilly To Acquire Bio/Pharma Company Versanis in $1.9-Bn Deal 
Eli Lilly and Company has agreed to acquire Versanis Bio, a New York-based bio/pharmaceutical company focused on cardiometabolic diseases, in a deal worth up to $1.9 billion. 

Versanis’ lead asset is bimagrumab, a monoclonal antibody that binds activin Type II A and B receptors to block activin and myostatin signaling. Bimagrumab is currently being assessed in a Phase IIb study alone and in combination with semaglutide in adults who are overweight or obese. Combining incretins with bimagrumab has the potential to further reduce fat mass while preserving muscle mass and may lead to better outcomes for people living with obesity and obesity-related complications, according to information from Lilly.  

Under the agreement, Versanis shareholders could receive up to $1.925 billion in cash, inclusive of an upfront payment and subsequent payments upon achievement of certain development and sales milestones. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. 

Source: Eli Lilly and Company 

Novartis Acquires Bio/Pharma Company DTx Pharma for $500 M 
Novartis has acquired DTx Pharma, a San-Diego based preclinical stage bio/pharmaceutical company, for $500 million plus undiclosed milestone payments.  

DTx’s lead program is DTx-1252, a drug for treating the neuromuscular disorder, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A, which affects the peripheral nerves—the nerves that transmit information and signals from the brain and spinal cord to and from the rest of the body, as well as sensory information. DTx-1252, which was recently granted orphan drug designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), decreases the expression of a protein in Schwann cells, the target cell type for the development, maintenance, and function of peripheral nerves.  

DTx additionally has an R&D platform, Falcon (Fatty Acid Ligand Conjugated OligoNucleotide) that uses fatty acids for enhanced biodistribution and cellular uptake to tissues and cell types. 

In addition to DTx-1252, the deal also brings two additional preclinical programs for other neuroscience indications to Novartis and expands the Novartis siRNA toolkit to build on its capabilities in xRNA, one of Novartis’ technology platforms.  

Under the agreement, Novartis will make an upfront payment of $500 million and additional payments upon completion of pre-specified milestones. 

Source: Novartis