Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire biopharmaceutical firm Dermira for approximately $1.1bn in cash.

As agreed, Lilly will acquire all outstanding shares of Dermira for $18.75 per share.

Headquartered in California, Dermira focusses on developing therapies for chronic skin conditions.

The acquisition will boost Lilly’s dermatology portfolio with the addition of Qbrexza (glycopyrronium), an anticholinergic to treat excessive underarm sweating (primary axillary hyperhidrosis) in patients nine years and above.

Dermira has also developed Lebrikizumab to prevent moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in adolescent and adult patients aged 12 years and older.

Lebrikizumab received Fast Track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December last year. Currently, the drug is undergoing Phase III clinical trials.

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Lilly senior vice-president and Lilly Bio-Medicines president Patrik Jonsson said: “People suffering from moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis have significant unmet treatment needs, and we are excited about the potential that lebrikizumab has to help these patients.”

“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 3 immunology compound for atopic dermatitis, while also adding an approved dermatology treatment for primary axillary hyperhidrosis.”

The Dermira acquisition is expected to close by the end of this quarter, subject to regulatory approvals and the tender of a majority of the outstanding shares of Dermira’s common stock.

Once the tender offer closes, Lilly will acquire the remaining shares of Dermira, if any, at the tender offer price.