Lilly Boosts Immunology with Dice Buy

22.06.2023 - Major drugmaker Eli Lilly is to pay up to $2.4 billion to acquire Dice Therapeutics, a US biotech specializing in developing oral medicines to treat chronic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

As well as the Delscape technology platform, Lilly will also gain access to Dice’s two clinical assets — DC-806 and DC-853 — that target the pro-inflammatory signaling molecule IL-17.

DC-806 is currently in phase 2 trials for psoriasis, while DC-853 is said by Dice to be a “differentiated fast follower molecule with improved potency and metabolic stability to support projected therapeutic benefit at lower doses.”

According to Dice, there is opportunity for more effective oral medicine in psoriasis. It noted that despite patients and physicians’ preference for oral therapy, IL-17 biologics (injectables) are projected to exceed $7 billion in sales by 2026 in psoriasis alone.

Lilly was previously developing its own psoriasis treatment, known as mirikizumab, but announced in April 2021 that it no longer planned to submit the drug for approval in any geography.

Dice is also developing an oral α4ß7 program for treating inflammatory bowel disease and an oral αVβX program for fibrosis.

“Our novel approach to discovering and advancing oral, small molecules against validated protein-protein interaction targets has even greater potential with Lilly's industry-leading clinical development capabilities to get these medicines to patients suffering from autoimmune diseases,” said Dice CEO Kevin Judice.

The transaction has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist