Lilly to buy Avid, Alzhemimer’s diagnostic

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – Eli Lilly & Co (LLY.N: ), which is developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, said on Monday that it would buy Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc, which is developing a diagnostic for a protein linked to the degenerative brain disease, for up to $800 million.

Lilly said it would pay $300 million upfront to acquire Avid. Shareholders of the tiny, privately held company will receive up to $500 million more if Avid’s florbetapir imaging agent proves successful in ongoing late-stage trials and meets commercial goals.

The molecular imaging agent is designed to test for fragments of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. Buildup in the brain of plaque caused by the beta-amyloid protein, now detected in autopsies, is a main suspected cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Avid product, now awaiting U.S. regulatory approval, would test for presence of the protein in living patients. Such diagnostics could allow for much earlier diagnosis, or even treatment, and simplify development of Alzheimer’s medicines for patients in various stages of the disease.

Current treatments for Alzheimer’s disease cannot change the course of the disease, and they provide only minimal symptom relief.

Indianapolis-based Lilly and other drugmakers, including Pfizer Inc (PFE.N: ) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: ), are striving to develop more effective treatments as the aging population becomes increasingly vulnerable to the disease.

Lilly is eagerly seeking new products to bolster its revenue and earnings as many of its best-selling drugs lose patent protection in coming years and face competition from cheaper generics.

Shares of Lilly were up 0.1 percent at $35.76 in morning New York Stock Exchange trading.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Ransdell Pierson, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Lisa Von Ahn)

Lilly to buy Avid, Alzhemimer’s diagnostic