Lilly confirms that pegilodecakin is a dud

The IL-10 project pegilodecakin at least failed fairly fast for Lilly, though this is where the positives end. Lilly’s $1.6bn acquisition of Armo Biosciences in May 2018, when cytokines were being described as the next big thing, now looks rash, and hopes for this approach to treating cancer have dimmed substantially since then. On its annual results call today the pharma giant revealed that the two remaining pegilodecakin readouts were duds; hopes that the Cypress lung cancer studies might show a signal were low anyway, after the company dialled back expectations after a blow-up in pancreatic cancer. No further trials are expected with the asset, said Dan Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief science officer, adding that the focus was now largely targeted oncology; the company said today that three other immuno-oncology assets had been canned. This all makes sense given Lilly's the $8bn acquisition of Loxo, which so far seems to have been a wiser move: selpercatinib is likely to receive approval later this year, and the sellside is forecasting sales of $820m by 2024, according to EvaluatePharma. Still, Lilly is far from the only big developer fishing in this pond, and any future moves will not come cheap.

Out the door
Project Mechanism Phase Therapy area
Pegilodecakin IL-10 receptor agonist II Cancer
Galunisertib TGF beta R1 kinase inhibitor II Cancer
LY3321367 Tim3 MAb I Cancer
LY3381916 IDO-1 inhibitor I Cancer
Source: company presentation.

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