Lilly has negotiated a deal to acquire Cambridge, MA-based CoLucid Pharmaceuticals for $46.5 per share in cash, which is approximately $960 million in cash. CoLucid’s flagship product is the late clinical-stage migraine therapy candidate lasmiditan, an oral 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) receptor 1F (5-HT1F) agonist that has completed two Phase III trials and was originally licensed to CoLucid by Lilly back in 2005. The transaction is expected to close by the end of Q1 2017, subject to customary conditions.
Lilly says lasmiditan will bolster its emerging pain management pipeline, which includes the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-targeting antibody, galcanezumab (LY2951742). Galcanezumab is in Phase III development for the prevention of migraine and cluster headaches. Lilly acquired the drug from Arteaus Therapeutics in 2014. A second pain candidate, the nerve growth factor (NGF)-targeting humanized antibody tanezumab, is in Phase III development in partnership with Pfizer for multiple potential pain indications, including osteoarthritis, lower back pain, and cancer pain. Phase III development of tanezumab for chronic pain management had been held back by a 3-year partial clinical hold on all NGF-targeting antibody candidates imposed by the FDA between 2012 and 2015 while the agency reviewed nonclinical data following adverse effects of anti-NGF antibodies on the sympathetic nervous system in animals. Trials in terminal cancer were not affected.
Lasmiditan was originally discovered at Lilly and was out-licensed to CoLucid in 2005, because at that time pain management wasn’t a strategic area of focus for Lilly, the firm notes. A reorganization of R&D priorities means that migraine is now part of the firm's therapeutic focus on pain management. “Lasmiditan is a novel, first-in-class molecule that could represent the first significant innovation for the acute treatment of migraine in more than 20 years, and CoLucid has made significant progress in advancing this potential medicine,” stated David A. Ricks, Lilly's president and CEO. “This innovation, along with galcanezumab, could offer important options for the millions of patients suffering from migraine.”
“We are excited that lasmiditan will be back at Lilly, where it was originally discovered, for the conclusion of Phase III development and potential commercialization,” added Thomas P. Mathers, CoLucid's CEO. “We are proud of the work that CoLucid has done to develop lasmiditan, and we believe Lilly's expertise in pain and commitment to innovation are a natural fit to potentially bring this medicine to patients.”