The annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference in San Francisco concluded last week with very few big deal announcements. In January 2019, Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) made its $74 billion takeover of Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) public just before the conference started. That was quickly followed by Eli Lilly and Company‘s (NYSE: LLY) $8 billion deal for Loxo Oncology.
This year, Eli Lilly was back in the spotlight with an agreement to acquire Demira, Inc. (NASDAQ: DERM), the largest deal announced in January. The $1.1 billion cash price (13.3x revenue), or $18.75 a share, represents an 86% premium to the 60-day volume-weighted average trading price of Dermira’s stock ending on January 9, 2020. It’s the largest deal announced to date in January 2020, but there are still two weeks to go in the month.
But Lilly isn’t finished in the deal department. CFO Josh Smiley told Reuters in an interview at the conference that the company plans to announce a $1 billion-to-$5 billion deal every quarter in 2020 in an effort to build its pipeline of promising early-stage drug candidates.
The Demira deal expands Lilly’s immunology pipeline with the addition of lebrikizumab, a novel, investigational monoclonal antibody that is being evaluated in a Phase 3 program for the treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) in patients 12 years and older. The drug was granted Fast Track designation from the FDA just a month ago, in December 2019.
Demira also has a marketed dermatology product, Qbreza (glycopyrronium), a medicated cloth approved by the FDA for the topical treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis (uncontrolled excessive underarm sweating).
Last year, Lilly made four deal announcements, beginning with the biggest, Loxo Oncology. Three more were added in the second quarter, though the combined prices were less than $100 million. We’ll see what the second quarter brings.