Eli Lilly is buying US biopharma CoLucid in a deal worth around $960 million, in a move designed to boost its migraine pain management portfolio with a late-stage candidate offering a potential near-term market launch.

CoLucid is developing oral 5-HT1F agonist lasmiditan for the acute treatment of migraine. The drug has completed the first of two pivotal Phase III trials, with a data read-out for the second expected in the second half of this year.

If the results are positive, then a submission for lasmiditan is expected to be filed with the US Food and Drug Administration in 2018.

If approved, the drug will offer patients a first-in-class therapy to treat migraine through a novel mechanism of action without vasoconstriction, which may be particularly desirable to patients with or at risk from cardiovascular disease.

More than 36 million people suffer from migraine in the US alone, and Lilly believes lasmiditan could represent "the first significant innovation for the acute treatment of migraine in more than 20 years", according to president and chief executive David A. Ricks.

Further explaining its interest in the deal, the US drugs giant said lasmiditan, which was actually originally discovered at Lilly and subsequently out-licensed to CoLucid in 2005, is "an important addition" to its currently emerging pain management pipeline, which includes galcanezumab, an investigation drug in Phase III development for the prevention of migraine and cluster headache.

Under the terms of the deal, Lilly will acquire all shares of CoLucid for a purchase price of $46.50 per share. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2017, subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.