Lilly to build molecular imaging agent portfolio with $800M Avid purchase

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The development compound AV-45 binds to amyloid plaques for imaging of Alzheimer's disease. Image source: Avid Radiopharmaceuticals

Eli Lilly has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, a privately held developer of molecular imaging compounds intended for the detection and monitoring of chronic human diseases, for up to $800 million.

Avid's program in development is florbetapir F 18 (18F-AV-45), a molecular imaging agent under investigation for detecting the presence of amyloid plaque in the brain. Beta-amyloid plaque is a defining pathology of Alzheimer's disease. A marketing application for florbetapir has recently been submitted to the FDA.

The Indianapolis-based Lilly said the acquisition of Avid also provides the company with a diagnostics development platform covering several disease areas, including Parkinson's disease and diabetes.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will acquire all outstanding shares of Avid for an upfront payment of $300 million, subject to adjustment based on existing cash on hand at closing. The companies said that Avid stockholders will be eligible for up to $500 million in additional payments contingent upon potential future regulatory and commercial milestones for florbetapir.

Upon completion of the acquisition, Avid will continue to operate from its headquarters in Philadelphia. Avid said it will provide support for ongoing academic clinical trials, including the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, as well as ongoing clinical trials for other pharmaceutical companies.

The transaction is contingent upon clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions, including requisite approval of Avid stockholders. Barclays Capital served as exclusive financial advisor to Lilly, while Morgan Stanley served as exclusive financial advisor to Avid.