Lilly Acquires Akouos, Strengthening Position in Gene Therapy
October 18, 2022
Eli Lilly and Company is acquiring Akouos, a precision genetic medicine company that is developing a portfolio of first-in-class adeno-associated viral gene therapies for the treatment of inner ear conditions, including sensorineural hearing loss.
“We believe that with Lilly’s resources, global reach, and growing capabilities in gene therapy, we can help Akouos fulfill their mission of making healthy hearing available to all,” said Andrew Adams, senior vice president of genetic medicine and co-director of the Institute for Genetic Medicine, Lilly.
Akouos has integrated expertise across otology, inner ear drug delivery, and gene therapy with the goal of addressing the needs of people living with disabling hearing loss worldwide. Akouos’s lead product candidate, AK-OTOF, is a gene therapy for the treatment of hearing loss due to mutations in the otoferlin gene (OTOF). Additional pipeline programs span across multiple inner ear conditions, and include AK-CLRN1 for Usher type 3A, an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by progressive loss of both hearing and vision; GJB2 (which encodes connexin 26) for a common form of monogenic deafness and hearing loss; and AK-antiVEGF for the treatment of vestibular schwannoma.
“Joining Lilly will help us accelerate the development of a broad pipeline of inner ear genetic medicines,” said Emmanuel Simons, co-founder, president, and CEO of Akouos.
Under the terms of the transaction, Lilly will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Akouos for $12.50 per share in cash, about $487 million and a 78 percent premium over its closing price ahead of the announcement, plus one contingent value right (CVR) of up to $3.00 per share, for an aggregate amount up to approximately $610 million. The deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.
“Gene therapy offers tremendous opportunity to provide durable treatments for patients with genetically defined disease; this is our second acquisition in gene therapy, following the 2021 acquisition of Prevail Therapeutics,” added Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific and medical officer, and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “With Akouos, we are optimistic that we can make a difference for people with hearing loss and other inner ear conditions.”
Author: Rare Daily Staff
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