For the second time in a week, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) has announced a big acquisition. The deal for AurKa Pharma Inc. in Canada involves an upfront payment of $110 million. The total value of the transaction could grow by up to $465 million if certain regulatory, marketing and sales marks are met. Last week, Lilly announced the $1.2 billion acquisition of ARMO BioSciences, which is based in California.
AurKa Pharma was launched by TVM Capital Life Science to develop AK-01, a potential cancer-fighting compound originally discovered by Lilly. AK-01 is currently in early phase clinical trials involving multiple types of solid tumors. The compound, which Lilly sold to TVM in 2016, is designed to inhibit Aurora kinase, which Lilly says is believed to control chromosomal segregation, making it a key to cellular division. Aurora kinases are "frequently overexpressed in cancerous tumors."
Lilly Senior Vice President of Corporate Business Development says "the acquisition of AurKa Pharma supports Lilly’s external innovation strategy, in which we seek to partner with leading life science venture capital firms in order to identify, support and access promising innovation in areas of unmet medical need. We are excited with the value TVM created for this compound through its early-Phase studies, and we look forward to more opportunities in the future."
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