Massachusetts' CoLucid Pharma Surges on $960 Million Eli Lilly Buyout Deal

Published: Jan 19, 2017

Massachusetts' CoLucid Pharma Surges on $960 Million Eli Lilly Buyout Deal January 18, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Indianapolis – Eli Lilly and Company announced that it is acquiring Cambridge, Mass.-based CoLucid Pharmaceuticals for $46.50 per share, or about $960 million.

CoLucid is focused on developing pain medications. Its lead product is an oral 5-HT1F agonist (lasmiditan) to treat migraine. It has finished the first of two pivotal Phase III trials. The readout on the second trial, SPARTAN, is projected for the second half of this year. If positive, the companies expect to submit to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with approval expected in 2018.

SPARTAN will evaluate 2,968 migraine patients. It is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel study being run at about 140 sites in the U.S., UK and Germany.

Lasmiditan has a novel mechanism of action that is believed to avoid the vasoconstrictive activity associated with other acute migraine treatments.

The company completed its first Phase III trial in September 2016. Both doses, 100 mg and 200 mg, hit the primary endpoint, migraine headache pain freedom, and there were very few adverse effects.

“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,” said David Ricks, Lilly’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “This innovation, along with galcanezumab, could offer important options for the millions of patients suffering from migraine.”

Galcanezumab is one of Lilly’s pipeline products, currently in Phase III development for migraine and cluster headaches. It also has tanezumab, in collaboration with Pfizer , to treat multiple pain indications, including osteoarthritis, lower back and cancer pain.

CoLucid went public in May 2015. The $960 million price is a 43 percent premium on the company’s closing stock price yesterday. Lasmiditan was originally licensed from Lilly. CoLucid is a small company—at the beginning of 2016 it reported only seven full-time staffers.

Eli Lilly did not have updated numbers, but spokeswoman Lauren Zierke told The Boston Business Journal, “As a small company, CoLucid has been very productive, and we have been impressed with the team assembled. As they have been primarily focused on the development of lasmiditan, we will likely retain select employees to assist with the transition.”

“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,” said Thomas Mathers, CoLucid’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “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.”

CoLucid jumped 32.45 percent in premarket trading at the news. It is currently trading at $46.25.

Eli Lilly is currently trading at $77.31.

The market for migraine is very large, with about 40 million people in the U.S. suffering from migraines. Most current treatments are not viewed as being completely effective. Most of them constrict blood vessels in the brain. Since many migraine sufferers also have cardiovascular issues, these drugs, typically triptans, are not safe for their use. About 35 percent of migraine patients can’t take triptans.

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