Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) announced today that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Versanis, a private, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company.
Versanis focuses on the development of new medicines for the treatment of cardiometabolic diseases. Its lead asset, bimagumab, is a monoclonal antibody. Bimagumab binds activin type II A and B receptors to block activin and myostatin signaling. The company currently has it under assessment in the BELIEVE Phase 2b study alone and in combination with semaglutide. It aims to treat overweight or obese adults.
According to a news release, combining incretins with bimagrumab could potentially reduce fat mass while preserving muscle mass. It may lead to better outcomes for people with obesity and obesity-related complications.
“Lilly is committed to investigating potential new medicines to fight cardiometabolic diseases, including obesity, a chronic disease that affects over 100 million Americans,” said Ruth Gimeno, VP, diabetes, obesity and cardiometabolic research at Lilly. “By unifying the knowledge and expertise in incretin biology at Lilly with the deep understanding of activin biology at Versanis, we aim to harness the potential benefits of such combinations for patients.”
Under the agreement, Versanis shareholders could receive up to $1.925 billion in cash. That includes an upfront payment and subsequent potential development and sales milestones. It remains subject to customary closing conditions.
“It has been a privilege for our team to advance bimagrumab to address one of the greatest health crises of our time,” said Dr. Mark Pruzanski, Versanis chair and CEO. “As a global leader developing life-changing medicines, Lilly is ideally positioned to realize the potential of bimagrumab in combination with its incretin therapies to benefit people living with cardiometabolic diseases.”
Filed Under: Drug Discovery, Drug Discovery and Development, Metabolic disease/endicrinology