Eli Lilly is shelling out $300 million to buy molecular imaging agents firm Avid Radiopharmaceuticals. The latter’s shareholders could also be eligible to receive up to another $500 million dependent on future regulatory and commercial milestones relating to florbetapir, a Phase III-stage imaging agent used with positron emission computed tomography (PET) for identifying Alzheimer disease (AD) plaques in the brain.
“The acquisition of Avid Radiopharmaceuticals aligns well with Lilly’s innovation-based strategy, offers potential near-term revenue opportunity, leverages our neuroscience expertise, and will immediately bolster our diagnostics capabilities,” remarks John Lechleiter, Ph.D., Lilly chairman and CEO. “We look forward to partnering with Avid’s experts during the regulatory process for florbetapir and are intent on gaining FDA approval.”
Avid’s florbetapir was the first beta-amyloid imaging compound to enter multicenter clinical studies in the U.S. It has to date been evaluated in more than 12 trials and 700 healthy and AD patients, Avid notes. As well as the pivotal Phase III Image-to-Autopsy study, additional clinical studies in the EU, South America, Australia, and Asia are also under way.
During April Avid reported results from an analysis of the first six subjects enrolled in the Image-to-Autopsy study. Data from this cohort of patients demonstrated that the florbetapir PET images correlated strongly with postmortem histopathology findings. The PET images correctly identified which subjects had beta-amyloid deposits but also showed where in the brain the deposits had accumulated.
Avid is dedicated to the development of molecular imaging products for the detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of chronic human diseases. In addition to florbetapir, the firm is carrying out Phase I/II trials with 18F-AV-133 for imaging vescular monoamine transporter (VMAT2) in disorders such as Parkinson disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, which involve dopaminergic degeneration. Avid is separately undertaking early clinical evaluation of its 18F-VMAT2 PET compounds for imaging beta cells in the pancreas as a potential approach to diagnosing beta-cell dysfunction associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.