The acquisition would be the largest and latest in a series of transactions Lilly has conducted to broaden its cancer treatment efforts with externally sourced opportunities for first-in-class and best-in-class therapies. Loxo Oncology is developing a pipeline of targeted medicines focused on cancers that are uniquely dependent on single gene abnormalities that can be detected by genomic testing. For patients with cancers that harbor these genomic alterations, a targeted medicine could have the potential to treat the cancer with dramatic effect.
Loxo Oncology has a promising portfolio of approved and investigational medicines, including:
- LOXO-292, a first-in-class oral RET inhibitor that has been granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA for three indications, with an initial potential launch in 2020. LOXO-292 targets cancers with alterations to the rearranged during transfection (RET) kinase. RET fusions and mutations occur across multiple tumor types, including certain lung and thyroid cancers as well as a subset of other cancers.
- LOXO-305, an oral BTK inhibitor currently in Phase 1/2. LOXO-305 targets cancers with alterations to the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK), and is designed to address acquired resistance to currently available BTK inhibitors. BTK is a validated molecular target found across numerous B-cell leukemias and lymphomas.
- Vitrakvi, a first-in-class oral TRK inhibitor developed and commercialized in collaboration with Bayer that was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Vitrakvi is the first treatment that targets a specific genetic abnormality to receive a tumor-agnostic indication at the time of initial FDA approval.
- LOXO-195, a follow-on TRK inhibitor also being studied by Loxo Oncology and Bayer for acquired resistance to TRK inhibition, with a potential launch in 2022.
“Using tailored medicines to target key tumor dependencies offers an increasingly robust approach to cancer treatment,” said Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “Loxo Oncology’s portfolio of RET, BTK and TRK inhibitors targeted specifically to patients with mutations or fusions in these genes, in combination with advanced diagnostics that allow us to know exactly which patients may benefit, creates new opportunities to improve the lives of people with advanced cancer.”
“We are gratified that Lilly has recognized our contributions to the field of precision medicine and are excited to see our pipeline benefit from the resources and global reach of the Lilly organization,” said Dr. Josh Bilenker, chief executive officer of Loxo Oncology. “Tumor genomic profiling is becoming standard-of-care, and it will be critical to continue innovating against new targets, while anticipating mechanisms of resistance to available therapies, so that patients with advanced cancer have the chance to live longer and better lives.”
“Lilly Oncology is committed to developing innovative, breakthrough medicines that will make a meaningful difference for people with cancer and help them live longer, healthier lives,” said Anne White, president of Lilly Oncology. “The acquisition of Loxo Oncology represents an exciting and immediate opportunity to expand the breadth of our portfolio into precision medicines and target cancers that are caused by specific gene abnormalities. The ability to target tumor dependencies in these populations is a key part of our Lilly Oncology strategy. We look forward to continuing to advance the pioneering scientific innovation begun by Loxo Oncology.”
“We are excited to have reached this agreement with a team that shares our commitment to ensuring that emerging translational science reaches patients in need,” said Jacob Van Naarden, chief operating officer of Loxo Oncology. “We are confident that the work we have started, which includes an FDA approved drug, and a pipeline spanning from Phase 2 to discovery, will continue to thrive in Lilly’s hands.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology for a purchase price of $235.00 per share in cash, or approximately $8.0 billion. The transaction is not subject to any financing condition and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals and the tender of a majority of the outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology’s common stock. Following the successful closing of the tender offer, Lilly will acquire any shares of Loxo Oncology that are not tendered into the tender offer through a second-step merger at the tender offer price.
The tender offer represents a premium of approximately 68 percent to Loxo Oncology’s closing stock price on January 4, 2019, the last trading day before the announcement of the transaction. Loxo Oncology’s board recommends that Loxo Oncology’s shareholders tender their shares in the tender offer. Additionally, a Loxo Oncology shareholder, beneficially owning approximately 6.6 percent of Loxo Oncology’s outstanding common stock, has agreed to tender its shares in the tender offer.