Eli Lilly has announced plans to buy Dermira for around $1.1 billion, expanding its immunology pipeline in the process.

As part of the agreement Lilly will add lebrikizumab, Dermira’s moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis drug currently at Phase III stage, to its pipeline.

Under the terms of the deal, Lilly says that it will commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of the biopharmaceutical company for a purchase price of $18.75 per share in cash.

Lebrikizumab is a novel, investigational, monoclonal antibody designed to bind IL-13 with very high affinity. IL-13 is believed to be a central pathogenic mediator that drives multiple aspects of the pathophysiology underlying the range of signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

Patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis have “significant unmet treatment needs,” reminded Patrik Jonsson, Lilly senior vice president, before going on to say the company is “excited about the potential that lebrikizumab has to help these patients.

Patrik continued, “The acquisition of Dermira is consistent with Lilly's strategy to augment our own internal research by acquiring clinical phase assets in our core therapeutic areas and leveraging our development expertise and commercial infrastructure to bring new medicines to patients.

“This acquisition provides an opportunity to add a promising Phase III immunology compound for atopic dermatitis, while also adding an approved dermatology treatment for primary axillary hyperhidrosis. We look forward to completing the acquisition and continuing Dermira's excellent work."

The drug was granted Fast Track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2019, after being out-licensed from Roche to Dermira in 2017.