Eli Lilly inks another radiopharma deal, gaining option to buy startup

  • Eli Lilly is expanding further into radiopharmaceuticals, inking a deal with Radionetics Oncology that gives it an option to later acquire the San Diego biotechnology company for $1 billion.
  • Lilly will pay Radionetics $140 million upfront for the option rights under the deal, which the companies announced Monday. Radionetics will continue to build its radiopharmaceutical drug pipeline through an “exercise period,” after which Lilly can choose whether to acquire the company.
  • Radionetics is developing small molecule radiopharmaceuticals that can target G protein-coupled receptors, a ubiquitous family of proteins that present many attractive disease targets. The company’s focus is on solid tumors.

Radiopharmaceuticals, a targeted alternative to radiation therapy, have become an area of significant pharmaceutical investment. Large firms like Lilly, Bristol Myers and AstraZeneca have made acquisitions to get into the space, lured by technical improvements, clinical successes and regulatory approvals.

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