Biotechnology

Eli Lilly enhances its obesity portfolio with the acquisition of Versanis Bio

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Eli Lilly and Company will acquire Versanis Bio in a deal that could be worth nearly $2 billion.

Versanis Bio is a private clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new drugs for the treatment of cardiometabolic diseases.

Versanis’ main asset is bimagrumab, a monoclonal antibody that binds to activin type II A and B receptors to block activin and myostatin signaling. Bimagrumab is currently being assessed in a phase 2b BELIEVE study alone and in combination with semaglutide in overweight or obese adults.

Combining incretin with bimagrumab has the potential to further reduce fat mass while preserving muscle mass, and could provide better outcomes for people living with obesity and obesity-related complications.

“Lilly is committed to exploring the potential of new drugs to fight cardiometabolic disease, including obesity, a chronic disease that affects more than 100 million Americans,” said Ruth Gimeno, group vice president, diabetes, obesity, and cardiometabolic research at Eli Lilly.

“By combining the knowledge and expertise in incretin biology at Lilly with the deep understanding of activin biology at Versanis, we aim to harness the potential benefits of this combination for patients.”

Mark Pruzanski, chairman and CEO of Versanis, added: “It is an honor for our team to advance bimagrumab to address one of the greatest health crises of our time. As a global leader in developing life-changing drugs, Lilly is ideally positioned to realize the potential of bimagrumab in combination with its incretin therapy to benefit people living with cardiometabolic disease.”

Terms of agreement between Eli Lilly and Versanis Bio

Under the terms of the agreement, Versanis shareholders can receive up to $1.925 billion in cash, including upfront and subsequent payments upon achievement of certain developments and sales milestones. Transactions are subject to customary closing conditions.

Eli Lilly will determine the accounting treatment of this transaction as a business combination or asset acquisition, including the related in-progress research and development costs acquired, in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles at closing. Subsequent transactions will be reflected in Eli Lilly’s financial results and financial guidelines.

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