Lilly Deepens Oncology Pipeline with $1.4B Point Biopharma Purchase

Pictured: Eli Lilly Campus in San Diego/iStock, Mi

Pictured: Eli Lilly Campus in San Diego/iStock, Mi

Michael Vi/Getty Images

Eli Lilly on Tuesday continued its buying spree with a $1.4 billion acquisition of the radiopharma company’s pipeline of clinical and preclinical radioligand therapies.

Pictured: Eli Lilly Biotechnology Center campus in California/iStock, Michael Vi

Eli Lilly on Tuesday announced it is acquiring Point Biopharma in an effort to bolster its cancer business with the Pennsylvania-based company’s pipeline of clinical and preclinical radioligand therapies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will pay $12.50 per outstanding share of Point, representing a 67% premium to the radiopharma company’s 30-day volume-weighted average price. In total, the acquisition has a value of $1.4 billion, payable at its closing. The board of directors of both companies have approved the transaction, and Lilly and Point expect to close the deal toward the end of 2023.

The Point acquisition represents the “beginning of our investment in developing multiple meaningful radioligand medicines for hard-to-treat cancers,” Jacob Van Naarden, president of Lilly’s oncology unit Loxo@Lilly, said in a statement.

In the deal, Lilly will gain ownership of Point’s lead asset PNT2002, a radioligand therapy against targeting the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), being trialed for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who had progressed after hormonal treatment. The candidate carries the beta-emitting radioisotope lutetium-177.

PNT2002 is currently in a Phase III study in this indication, with data expected in late 2023.

Point is also advancing another late-stage targeted radioligand therapy dubbed PNT2003, which targets the somatostatin receptor and also carries a lutetium-177-based payload. PNT2003 is being developed for gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs).

Beyond its late-stage pipeline, Point is also working on several earlier-stage assets, including PNT2004 for solid tumors and PNT2001 for prostate cancer. All these investigational molecules—along with the biotech’s radiopharma manufacturing campus in Indianapolis and its R&D center in Toronto—will become part of Lilly’s fold once the buyout has been completed.

For Lilly, the Point acquisition will put it in the same arena as other radiopharma players. This includes Novartis, whose radioligand therapy Lutathera (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate) last week aced its Phase III NETTER-2 trial in GEP-NETs. When combined with high-dose long-acting octreotide, Lutathera significantly improved progression-free survival in patients compared with octreotide alone.

Lutathera is already approved for the treatment of GEP-NETs, but with last week’s data Novartis now seeks to push the targeted radiotherapy into the front-line setting.

Radiopharma company RayzeBio is also developing a treatment for GEP-NETs, with its candidate RYZ101 having just begun its Phase III assessments in May 2023. The candidate carries the highly potent Actinium-225 radioisotope and is being trialed in patients positive for somatostatin receptor type 2.

Last month, RayzeBio closed its initial public offering, raising $358 million.

The Point purchase also comes amid Lilly’s dealmaking spree. The Indianapolis pharma shelled out $1.93 billion in July 2023 to buy weight-loss player Versanis. The month prior, Lilly snapped up three companies: antibody-drug conjugate developer Emergence Therapeutics, diabetes partner Sigilon and autoimmune and inflammatory leader DICE.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

Tristan is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, with more than eight years of experience writing about medicine, biotech and science. He can be reached at tristan.manalac@biospace.com, tristan@tristanmanalac.com or on LinkedIn.
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