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Lilly to acquire AurKa
Posted on Monday, 14 May 2018 14:14
Just days after announcing the acquisition of Armo BioSciences for USD 1.60 billion, Eli Lilly revealed plans to bulk up its oncology pipeline through the purchase of AurKa Pharma for as much as USD 575.00 million.

Owner TVM Capital Life Science will receive an upfront USD 110.00 million, though there is the possibility of a further payment of as much as USD 465.00 million in regulatory and sales milestones.

These targets include AurKa’s compound AK-01 gaining approval in the US and other markets.

In effect, Lilly is buying back a programme first discovered by itself and which was subsequently sold to TVM as part of clinical pipeline review in 2016.

This group of independent investment advisors and managers for venture capital funds then established Montréal-headquartered AurKa as a special purpose company to develop AK-01 to proof-of-concept testing.

Aurora kinases, consisting of Aurora A, Aurora B and Aurora C, are believed to play a crucial role in cellular division by controlling chromosomal segregation.

Defects in this kind of separation can cause genetic instability, a condition highly associated with the formation of tumours.

AurKa’s asset, AK-01, has been shown to be highly selective for Aurora A, with potential clinical benefits observed in phase I studies.

The Indiana-based pharmaceutical group noted future studies would determine if the selectivity profile of this candidate can improve efficacy while limiting toxicity risks to a manageable level.

Lilly added: “The acquisition of AurKa Pharma expands our pipeline with a promising oncology compound targeting a distinct cell cycle pathway.

“The work done by AurKa will allow Lilly to leverage emerging data about cancers in which this molecule might be effective, and determine if it can be beneficial to people living with various forms of cancer."

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