Eli Lilly Acquires Biotech Firm Dice

(Photo credit: Hal Gatewood/Unsplash)
(Photo credit: Hal Gatewood/Unsplash)

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The pharmaceutical business isn’t all about weight-loss drugs.

Drug-making giant Eli Lilly announced on Tuesday it agreed to buy Dice, a firm that specializes in making oral treatments for autoimmune diseases, for $2.4 billion, representing a 40% premium on Dice’s shares.

Skin In The Game

Eli Lilly isn’t the only big pharma company forking over large sums for a biotech company with a specialty in autoimmune diseases. Merck announced in April it was buying biotech firm Prometheus Biosciences for $10.8 billion, a 75% premium on its share price at the time. Big pharma companies are also keeping a keen eye on European immunology biotech company Argenx, which is expected to release key data next month.

Dice’s leading treatment is for psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that affects the skin making it scaly and uncomfortable:

  • An estimated 7.5 million Americans suffer from psoriasis according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Autoimmune diseases comprise a wide-ranging variety of conditions including Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and lupus.

Eli Lilly already has some autoimmune treatment chops as it produces a psoriasis drug called Taltz — the key difference however is that Dice specializes in making treatments in pill form, which are both easier to transport and administer than injections.

Weight and See: We said big pharma isn’t all about those buzzy weight-loss drugs you’ve heard so much about — but they sure do help. Eli Lilly, like Ozempic-maker Novo Nordisk, has discovered that its diabetes drug Mounjaro is an effective weight-loss drug and is in prime position to overtake Ozempic and its sister drug Wegovy as the dominant weight-loss treatment as results suggest it may help users lose more weight. That means Eli Lilly can afford to bide its time on other drugs in development.