Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) has signed a deal worth up to $1.04 billion to acquire Prevail Therapeutics, a US gene therapy company engaged in developing disease-modifying AAV9-based gene therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.
According to the US pharma giant, the acquisition will set up a new modality for drug discovery and development. It will also extend its research efforts via the creation of a gene therapy program that will be steered by Prevail Therapeutics’ portfolio of clinical-stage and preclinical neuroscience assets.
The lead gene therapies of Prevail Therapeutics in clinical development are PR001 for patients with Parkinson’s disease who have GBA1 mutations (PD-GBA) and neuronopathic Gaucher disease (nGD) and PR006, which is for patients having frontotemporal dementia with GRN mutations (FTD-GRN).
The preclinical pipeline of the US gene therapy company includes PR004 for patients having specific synucleinopathies, and also as potential gene therapies for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease.
Commenting on Lilly acquisition of Prevail Therapeutics, Mark Mintun – Lilly vice president of pain and neurodegeneration research said: “Gene therapy is a promising approach with the potential to deliver transformative treatments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Gaucher and dementia.
“The acquisition of Prevail will bring critical technology and highly skilled teams to complement our existing expertise at Lilly, as we build a new gene therapy program anchored by well-researched assets. We look forward to completing the proposed acquisition and working with Prevail to advance their groundbreaking work through clinical development.”
As per the terms of the deal, Prevail Therapeutics will be paid $22.5 per share in cash or around $880 million at the time of closing along with one non-tradeable CVR. The CVR gives Prevail Therapeutics’ stockholders to receive up to an additional $4 per share in cash or around $160 million payable following the first regulatory approval for commercial sale of one of its gene therapy products in any one of the countries – the US, Japan, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, or Italy.
Asa Abeliovich – founder and CEO of Prevail Therapeutics, commenting on Lilly acquisition of Prevail Therapeutics, said: “In just over three years, Prevail has advanced two first-in-class gene therapy programs into clinical development for PD-GBA, nGD, and FTD-GRN, established two manufacturing platforms, and developed a broad pipeline with great potential to impact patients in need of disease-modifying treatment options.
“With its global scale and resources, Lilly will be the ideal organization to maximize the potential of our pipeline and accelerate our ability to bring these therapies to as many patients as possible. We look forward to working together to advance our shared mission.”
The deal, which is subject to required regulatory approvals, tender of a majority of the outstanding shares of Prevail Therapeutics’ common stock, and other customary closing conditions, is expected to be wrapped up in Q1 2021.