Lilly bets on immunology with $2.4B Dice buy

June 20, 2023

With an eye on oral IL-17 inhibitors, Eli Lilly and Company has inked an all-cash deal to acquire San Francisco-based Dice Therapeutics.

Dice leverages its proprietary DELSCAPE technology platform to develop novel oral therapeutic candidates to treat chronic diseases in immunology. The platform can optimize the design of small molecule therapeutics to modulate protein-protein interactions as effectively as systemic biologics — which means the company can discover and develop orally dosed medicines in a therapeutic area dominated by injectable medicines.

Dice's lead drug, DC-806, targets IL-17, an important biologically and commercially validated target for multiple autoimmune and inflammatory diseases including psoriasis. The drug is currently in mid-stage trials.

Per the deal, Lilly will acquire all outstanding shares of Dice for a purchase price of $48 per share in cash, for a total purchase price of approximately $2.4 billion. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

Lilly has already had good luck with injectable IL-17 inhibitors, through its blockbuster psoriasis treatment, Taltz. First approved in 2016, the IL-17A antagonist now carries approvals for plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory disease affecting the spine. The drug amassed close to $2.5 billion in sales in 2022.