Lilly to acquire SARM1 inhibitor developer Disarm Therapeutics

Lilly acquisition of Disarm Therapeutics : Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) has agreed to acquire Disarm Therapeutics, a biotech company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is focused on developing a new class of disease-modifying treatments for patients with axonal degeneration.

As per the terms of the deal, Lilly will pay an upfront payment of $135 million to Disarm Therapeutics. Apart from that, Disarm Therapeutics’ equity holders will stand to receive up to $1.225 billion in the form of future payments associated with potential development, regulatory, and commercial milestones if Lilly successfully develops and brings to market new drugs resulting from the transaction.

Disarm Therapeutics has discovered SARM1 inhibitors and is taking them in preclinical development, with an aim to offer breakthrough treatments to patients having peripheral neuropathy and other neurological disorders like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis.

Mark Mintun – Lilly vice president of pain and neurodegeneration research, commenting on Lilly acquisition of Disarm Therapeutics, said: “Lilly continues to seek medicines to treat the debilitating pain and loss of function associated with nerve damage.

“The scientific team at Disarm discovered an important and highly promising approach to combat axonal degeneration. We will move quickly to develop their SARM1 inhibitors into potential medicines for peripheral neuropathy and neurological diseases, such as ALS and multiple sclerosis.”

Lilly acquisition of Disarm Therapeutics

Lilly acquisition of Disarm Therapeutics. Photo courtesy of Momoneymoproblemz/

Axonal degeneration is a common pathology in a wide range of neurological disorders and is yet to be addressed, said Lilly. The condition is known to be the driver of severe sensory, motor, and cognitive symptoms.

The scientific founders of Disarm Therapeutics – Dr. Jeffrey Milbrandt and Dr. Aaron DiAntonio of Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis discovered that the SARM1 protein is the main driver of axonal degeneration.

The company’s SARM1 inhibitors are designed to directly stop the loss of axons.

Commenting on Lilly acquisition of Disarm Therapeutics, Alvin Shih – CEO of Disarm Therapeutics, said: “Disarm’s innovative approach to treating axonal degeneration holds tremendous promise for addressing a wide spectrum of neurological diseases, and we have made significant strides toward enabling potentially transformative therapies.

“Lilly is ideally suited to advance this exciting new approach to treating axonal degeneration, and we look forward to seeing patients benefit from the work that Disarm initiated.”

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