Sector News

Lilly to buy Versanis, adding to obesity drug pipeline

July 16, 2023
Life sciences

Founded in 2021 by Aditum Bio, Versanis is built around a drug licensed from Novartis. The antibody, called bimagrumab, is designed to block cellular communication via two types of protein regulators and is being studied in people who are overweight or obese.

Lilly’s planned purchase of Versanis is the latest in a monthlong M&A streak that’s included acquisitions of Dice Therapeutics, Sigilon Therapeutics and Emergence Therapeutics.

The dealmaking gives Lilly new drug candidates in areas of research it has prioritized, like immune diseases, cancer and obesity. Its recent success developing drugs for the latter condition has fueled a stock price surge that’s made it the most valuable pharmaceutical company in the world.

Lilly’s most advanced drug in testing for weight loss, an injection called Mounjaro, targets a hormone called GLP-1, similar to Novo Nordisk’s wildly popular diabetes and obesity drugs Ozempic and Wegovy. Another promising medicine that’s not as far along also targets GLP-1, as well as two other hormones. READ MORE

by Ned Pagliarulo


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