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Lilly (LLY) to Acquire Pain Candidate From Private Biotech

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Eli Lilly and Company (LLY - Free Report) announced that it has entered into an agreement with Massachusetts-based privately held Hydra Biosciences, Inc. The move will add the latter’s pre-clinical pain candidate to the company’s portfolio and also strengthen its pain pipeline portfolio.

Following this deal, Lilly is set to acquire Hydra’s TRPA1 antagonist, which is being studied for the potential treatment of chronic pain syndromes.

Notably, Lilly has been working on building its pipeline and finding novel treatment options for chronic pain. With this transaction, Lilly is looking to add a promising pain candidate to its portfolio to have a better understanding of the Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) pathway in pain signaling. Financial terms of the deal have been kept under wraps.

Shares of Lilly have surged 32.6% so far this year, outperforming the industry’s increase of 5%.

In its pain portfolio, Lilly launched Emgality (galcanezumab), its CGRP antibody, for the preventive treatment of migraine in the United States during September, which could emerge as a significant contributor to long-term growth.

A new drug application (NDA) for another migraine candidate, lasmiditan, is also under review. The NDA seeks an approval of the oral 5-HT1F agonist for the treatment of acute migraine headaches. Lasmiditan was added to Lilly’s portfolio with the 2015 acquisition of CoLucid Pharmaceuticals.

Meanwhile, Lilly along with Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) is developing NGF inhibitor, tanezumab (subcutaneous), in late-stage studies for osteoarthritis pain, chronic low back pain and cancer pain.

We remind investors that Pfizer and Lilly signed a contract for the joint development and commercialization of tanezumab across the world in 2013.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

Lilly currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other top-ranked stocks in the large cap pharma sector include Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Free Report) and Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK - Free Report) . While Bristol-Myers sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Merck carries a Zacks Rank of 2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Bristol-Myers’ earnings estimates have been revised 6.3% upward for 2018 and 5.1% for 2019 over the past 60 days.

Merck’s earnings estimates have moved 1.4% north for 2018 and 1.3% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has rallied 35.9% year to date.

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