Lilly buys Alnara for undisclosed sum

Alnara Pharmaceuticals has inked a deal to merge with Eli Lilly for an undisclosed sum. The Cambridge, MA-based developer's lead product is liprotamase, a therapy under FDA review for the treatment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. The condition is the result of several diseases, including cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis and pancreatectomy. Alnara says that, if approved, liprotamase will allow many patients to use fewer pills compared with current therapies on the market.

Liprotamase once belonged to Altus Pharmaceuticals, a developer that fell victim to the economic crisis and eventually landed in Fierce's 2009 Biotech Graveyard. Before closing its doors, Altus transferred rights to Trizytek (liprotamase) to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics. Alexey Margolin, Alnara Pharmaceuticals' president and CEO, had worked on the Trizytek program during his tenure at Altus and repurchased worldwide rights to liprotamase after founding Alnara.

"The acquisition of Alnara provides Lilly with a promising entry into enzyme replacement therapy--an area with unmet medical needs as well as opportunities for novel compounds that give patients additional treatment options," says Bryce Carmine, executive vice president of Lilly, in a statement. "Alnara has been very successful in the development of liprotamase--as indicated by its recent submission to the FDA--and we look forward to partnering with Alnara's experts during the regulatory review process."

- here's Lilly's release for more