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Lilly to buy Avid Radiopharmaceuticals

Lilly has agreed to acquire the privately held molecular imaging product company Avid Radiopharmaceuticals in a deal that could be worth up to $800m
Eli Lilly & Company has agreed to acquire the privately held molecular imaging product company Avid Radiopharmaceuticals in a deal that could be worth up to $800m.  

Philadelphia-based Avid is focused on developing novel molecular imaging compounds for detecting and monitoring chronic diseases. 

A main driver of the deal for Lilly is Avid's lead programme in development, which is a molecular imaging agent intended to help accurately diagnose Alzheimer's disease.  

Alzheimer's is an area of focus for Lilly, which still has several key Alzheimer's drugs in development in spite of having recently abandoned its late-stage product candidate semagacestat after disappointing phase III results in Alzheimer's patients.  

Avid's florbetapir F 18 (18F-AV-45) is a molecular imaging agent being developed for detecting the presence of amyloid plaque in the brain, the main physical marker of Alzheimer's disease. Florbetapir is used in combination with positron emission tomography (PET) technology to detect beta-amyloid plaque deposits in living patients that currently can only be accurately identified after a patient's death. 

A marketing application for the product is under review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The filing is based on a dozen trials in over 700 subjects, including a pivotal phase III image-to-autopsy study.

Avid also has diagnostics in phase I and phase II trials for other diseases, including Parkinson's disease and diabetes. 

"In addition to florbetapir, we look forward to supporting the continued clinical development of Avid's earlier-phase diagnostics pipeline," said Tiffany Olson, Lilly's vice president of diagnostics research and development.

The merger deal calls for Lilly to acquire all outstanding shares of Avid for an upfront payment of $300m, with another $500m possible based on regulatory and commercial milestones for florbetapir. 

Avid will continue to operate from its facility in Philadelphia after the closing of the deal.

9th November 2010

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