Eli Lilly to buy Morphic, picking up IBD asset

July 8, 2024

Eli Lilly has agreed to acquire Massachusetts-based biotech Morphic, in a bid to expand the company's immunology pipeline with oral integrin therapies.

Per the deal, Lilly will commence a tender offer to buy all outstanding shares of Morphic for a purchase price of $57 per share in cash — a deal worth approximately $3.2 billion — payable at closing. 

Key to the deal is Morphic's lead program, a selective oral small molecule inhibitor of α4β7 integrin for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that the bioteh says has the potential to improve outcomes and expand treatment options. The molecule, MORF-057, is being evaluated in two phase 2 studies in ulcerative colitis and one phase 2 study in Crohn's disease.

MORF-057 could potentially rival Takeda's blockbuster Entyvio, an injectable integrin receptor antagonist first approved in 2014 to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn‘s disease. Takeda recently won approval for a subcutaneous maintenance version of the top-selling drug.

Lilly will also get Morphic's preclinical pipeline of molecules for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pulmonary hypertensive diseases, fibrotic diseases and cancer.