Lilly gives up on $40M BCL-2 buy as part of latest pipeline cull

While Eli Lilly celebrated a “solid quarter” of earnings this morning, a look over the Big Pharma’s third-quarter presentation reveals that the company has quietly dumped two clinical-stage assets.

One of these is LOXO-338, which was undergoing a phase 1 trial in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies. Lilly licensed the ex-China rights to the drug—a selective small-molecule inhibitor of a protein called B-cell lymphoma-2—from Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical two years ago.

At the time of the deal, Fosun hyped up BCL-2 as an “increasingly important therapeutic target in cancer biology.” Lilly presumably agreed, handing over $40 million and pledging up to $400 million to follow in potential biobucks. AbbVie and Roche have previously scored success by bringing the first BCL-2 inhibitor to market in the form of leukemia drug Venclexta.

Fosun has its own phase 1 trial of LOXO-338, which it calls FCN-338, underway in China for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small lymphocytic lymphoma.

The further advanced of Lilly’s two scrapped assets is LY3451838, which was undergoing a phase 2 trial for treatment-resistant migraine. The monoclonal antibody, which is administered intravenously, is designed to target the pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide-38 receptor.

The midstage study kicked off in November 2020 and was due to complete at the end of September 2022, according to It’s not clear whether a peek at the data spooked Lilly into dropping the drug.

Lilly had not responded to Fierce Biotech’s request for more information on the discontinuations at time of publication.