Eli Lilly Pays up to $380M for Alnara Pharma

7/20/10

We finally know how much drug giant Eli Lilly paid to acquire Cambridge, MA-based Alnara Pharmaceuticals. Lilly, which first announced its takeover of Alnara on July 2, disclosed today that the deal is worth as much as $380 million to venture-backed Alnara’s shareholders.

Indianapolis-based Lilly (NYSE:LLY) is paying $180 million upfront for all of Alnara’s shares, and shareholders are eligible for as much as $200 million in additional payments depending on whether certain regulatory and commercial milestones are met, according to the firms. No doubt, a major potion of Alnara shareholders’ potential payouts depends on whether the FDA decides to approve its enzyme supplement, liprotamase, which is for people with cystic fibrosis and others whose pancreases can’t produce enough of the digestive enzymes naturally. The agency is now considering the firm’s application for approval of the drug.

Alnara, founded in July 2008, raised $55 million in two rounds of venture capital from Bessemer Venture Partners, Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Longwood Founders Fund, MPM Capital, and Third Rock Ventures. The company acquired rights to its enzyme drug from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in March 2009. That critical deal happened just a few months after Altus Pharmaceuticals surrendered development rights to the drug to the foundation, which had supported its development for years at Altus. The CF Foundation looked for a commercial partner, and it settled on Alnara. The deal with the CF Foundation transformed Alnara—whose CEO and co-founder Alexey Margolin is a former chief scientist of Altus—into a late-stage drug developer that ultimately generated enough value to capture the interest of a big player like Lilly.

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