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Lilly picks up gene therapy programme in $1bn Prevail Therapeutics acquisition deal

Acquisition includes a number of candidates for neurodegenerative diseases

Eli Lilly has stepped into the gene therapy space after announcing a deal to acquire Prevail Therapeutics, a company focused on developing adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

Lilly will acquire Prevail for $22.50 per share in cash, plus one $4 contingent value right dependent on the first regulatory approval of a product from Prevail’s pipeline.

This reflects a potential consideration of up to $26.50 per share in cash for a total consideration of approximately $1.04bn.

For Lilly, the acquisition will extend its focus into developing gene therapies, establishing an in-house gene therapy programme ‘anchored’ by Prevail’s current portfolio and AAV-based technology.

Prevail’s pipeline spans clinical-stage and preclinical neuroscience assets, including lead gene therapies PR001 for patients with Parkinson’s disease with GBA1 mutations (PD-GBA) and neuronopathic Gaucher disease (nGD) and PR006 for patients with frontotemporal dementia with GRN mutations (FTD-GRN).

The company’s preclinical pipeline also includes PR004, a potential gene therapy for patients with specific synucleinopathies, as well as candidates for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative disorders.

"The acquisition of Prevail will bring critical technology and highly skilled teams to complement our existing expertise at Lilly, as we build a new gene therapy programme anchored by well-researched assets,” said Mark Mintun, vice president of pain and neurodegeneration research at Lilly.

“We look forward to completing the proposed acquisition and working with Prevail to advance their ground-breaking work through clinical development,” he added.

For Prevail to achieve the full value of the contingent CVR payment, the first regulatory approval arising from its current gene therapy pipeline must happen by 31 December 2024.

Failing regulatory approval by this date, Lilly said in a statement that the value of the CVR will decrease by approximately 8.3 cents per month until the expiration date – 1 December 2028.

Within Prevail’s clinical pipeline, PR001 has already scored a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast-track designation for the treatment of PD-GBA patients and nGD.

It has also been granted an FDA orphan drug designation for the treatment of Gaucher disease, and rare paediatric disease designation for the treatment of nGD.

Prevail’s PR006 gene therapy also has an FDA and European Commission orphan designation for the treatment of FTD, with the FDA also handing it a fast-track designation for FTD-GRN.

In November, Lilly signed a deal with Precision BioSciences focused on genome editing research, with an initial focus on developing in vivo therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and two other undisclosed gene targets.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

17th December 2020

From: Sales

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