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Eli Lilly buying Loxo Oncology in $8B deal

By Clyde Hughes

Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Pharma giant Eli Lilly announced Monday it's purchasing Loxo Oncology for $8 billion, in another step to broaden its cancer treatment portfolio.

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly said it will purchase stock from Loxo Oncology, a Connecticut biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and selling selective medicines for patients with genomically-defined cancers, for $235 per share.

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U.S. regulators approved Loxo's first commercial medicine, Vitrakvi, last year in partnership with Bayer. It was shown to be effective against a wide variety of cancers driven by a single, rare genetic mutation.

"We are gratified that Lilly has recognized our contributions to the field of precision medicine and are excited to see our pipeline benefit from the resources and global reach of the Lilly organization," Loxo CEO Dr. Josh Bilenker said in a statement.

"Tumor genomic profiling is becoming standard-of-care, and it will be critical to continue innovating against new targets while anticipating mechanisms of resistance to available therapies."

Loxo said it hopes genomic testing will develop a pipeline of targeted medicines focused on such cancers.

Loxo shares jumped 33 percent in early trading Monday, while Eli Lilly stock dropped 2.7 percent.

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