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Lilly to acquire privately held oncology company

Eli Lilly and Co. is acquiring Montreal-based AurKa Pharma Inc., a privately held pharmaceutical company that is studying AK-01 as a treatment for multiple types of solid tumors.

AK-01 was initially discovered by Lilly but after a review of clinical pipeline priorities in 2016 was sold to TVM Capital Life Science, which then established AurKa to advance the treatment.

Under the terms, Lilly will acquire all shares of AurKa.

AurKa will receive $110 million in upfront and will be eligible to receive up to $465 million based on regulatory and sales milestones if AK-01 gains approval in the U.S. and other markets, and achieves certain sales levels.

Baird is acting as financial adviser to AurKa in this transaction.