Eli Lilly and Company has signed an agreement to acquire US-based CoLucid Pharmaceuticals in a transaction worth approximately $960m.

The deal is set to improve Lilly's existing portfolio in pain management for migraine and also add a potential near-term launch to its late-stage pipeline.

Eli Lilly president and CEO David Ricks said: "Lasmiditan is a novel, first-in-class molecule that could represent the first significant innovation for the acute treatment of migraine in more than 20 years, and CoLucid has made significant progress in advancing this potential medicine.

"This innovation, along with galcanezumab, could offer important options for the millions of patients suffering from migraine."

CoLucid is developing an oral 5-HT1F agonist (lasmiditan) for the acute treatment of migraine and has completed the first of two pivotal Phase III trials.

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The company is expecting a data read-out for the second Phase III trial, SPARTAN, in the second half of this year.

The lasmiditan submission for US regulatory approval may occur next year, if this trial is positive.

Lasmiditan is an important addition to Lilly's pain management pipeline, and was originally discovered at Lilly and out-licensed to CoLucid in 2005.

"This innovation, along with galcanezumab, could offer important options for the millions of patients suffering from migraine."

CoLucid Pharmaceuticals CEO Thomas Mathers said: "We are excited that lasmiditan will be back at Lilly, where it was originally discovered, for the conclusion of Phase III development and potential commercialisation.

"We are proud of the work that CoLucid has done to develop lasmiditan, and we believe Lilly's expertise in pain and commitment to innovation are a natural fit to potentially bring this medicine to patients."

The transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of this year.

Lilly hopes to recognise a financial charge of approximately $850m as an acquired in-process research and development charge to earnings during the first quarter.

Image: Eli Lilly and Company's global headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, US. Photo: courtesy of Guanaco152003.