Lilly has enhanced its immune disease pipelines by obtaining the rights to develop and sell lebrikizumab, an investigational drug for atopic dermatitis, through a buyout of a biotech firm Dermira.
Lilly announced on Friday that it would acquire the skin disease-focused firm for $1.1 billion.
Demira has the marketing right for Qbrexza (ingredient: glycopyrronium), a treatment for primary axillary hyperhidrosis that arrived in the market in 2018. The company also owns the atopic dermatitis drug candidate lebrikizumab, testing it in a phase-3 study.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted lebrikizumab a fast track designation in December.
Dermira licensed in lebrikizumab, then experimental drug for asthma, from Roche in 2017 and began to develop it as an atopic dermatitis treatment.
With the acquisition of Dermina, Lilly gets to include lebrikizumab in its pipelines.
Lebrikizumab is an interleukin-13 (IL-13) binding monoclonal antibody, which suppresses the biologic effect of IL-13.
Lebrikizumab showed an early response in all atopic dermatitis severity scores in a phase-2 study. The treatment proved meaningful improvement in the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) and Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA) score of 0 to 1 (skin lesion is completely gone or almost resolved), particularly at 250mg every two weeks (Q2W) and 250mg every four weeks doses.
Dermira is conducting a phase-3 trial on lebrikizumab in patients aged 12 or more with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. The study is expected to reach the primary endpoint in June 2021.
Sanofi’s Dupixent (dupilumab) is the only authorized biologic drug available for moderate or severe atopic dermatitis.
Pfizer is also working on abrocitinib, a Janus kinase 1 (JAK-1) inhibitor, in a phase-3 trial for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. The company aims to win U.S. approval within this year.
Pfizer said it would disclose the results of the phase-3 Jade-Compare study this week, which directly compared the efficacy of abrocitinib and that of Dupixent.
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