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Lilly eyes targeted cancer therapies with $1.4 billion Point Biopharma deal

By Bhanvi Satija and Leroy Leo

(Reuters) -Eli Lilly and Co will buy Point Biopharma Global for $1.4 billion, the companies said on Tuesday, gaining access to experimental therapies that enable precise targeting of cancer.

Lilly has been bolstering its pipeline through small deals as its cancer therapy Alimta faces fierce competition from copycat versions while betting on potential blockbuster drug tirzepatide, or Mounjaro, to drive growth.

This year, the company's deals include the $2.4 billion buyout of Dice Therapeutics and the $1.93 billion purchase of privately held Versanis.

Point Biopharma is currently testing radioligand therapy candidates, PNT2002 and PNT2003, in late-stage studies. The experimental therapies combine radioactive particles that kill cells with molecules that attach themselves to the tumors.

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Lilly has offered $12.50 per Point Biopharma share held, representing a premium of about 87% to the stock's last close.

Shares of Indiana-based Point Biopharma soared 85%, while Lilly's stock was down about 3%.

Analysts see no regulatory risk since the companies are not developing any overlapping therapies.

"Given the inherent complexities associated with the supply chain for radiopharmaceuticals, we believe that Point's manufacturing expertise was an important consideration for Lilly," said William Blair analyst Andy Hsieh.

Lilly will also get access to Point Biopharma's Indianapolis manufacturing plant for radiopharmaceuticals.

Point Biopharma is testing PNT2002 in patients with an advanced form of prostate cancer whose disease has worsened after hormone therapy. Late-stage data from PNT2002 is expected this quarter.

PNT2002 is expected to compete with Novartis' radioligand therapy for prostate cancer, Pluvicto, which is available in the U.S. since 2022.

The deal will also add PNT2003, Point Biopharma's experimental candidate for a ultra-rare type of digestive tract cancer, to Lilly's oncology pipeline.

Point Biopharma has licensed both its late-stage experimental therapies to Lantheus Holdings since 2022.

A Lantheus spokesperson said the company's commercial rights remain intact and its collaboration with Point Biopharma is progressing in line with expectations.

(Reporting by Leroy Leo and Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)