Lilly to acquire biotech company Protomer Technologies

Eli Lilly and Company has announced the acquisition of California-based biotech company, Protomer Technologies.


Global healthcare company Eli Lilly and Company has announced the acquisition of Protomer Technologies (Protomer), a private biotech company that engineers protein therapeutics. Lilly previously led an equity investment in Protomer alongside the JDRF T1D Fund, a fund that invests in solutions to prevent and treat type 1 diabetes, providing Lilly with 14 percent ownership. This latest acquisition provides Lilly with the remainder of the stock beyond its initial investment. The transaction has the potential value of over $1 billion.

Founded in 2015 and based in Pasadena, California, the biotech firm engineers protein therapeutics that can sense molecular activators in the body. Protomer’s propriety chemical biology-based platform enables the development of therapeutic peptides and proteins with tuneable activity that can be controlled using small molecules. The company has an advanced portfolio of therapeutic candidates, including glucose-responsive insulins that can sense sugar levels in the blood and automatically activate when needed.

“Glucose-sensing insulin is the next frontier and has the potential to revolutionise the treatment and quality of life of people with diabetes by dramatically improving both the therapeutic efficacy and safety of insulin therapy,” said Ruth Gimeno, vice president at Lilly. “Protomer’s glucose-sensing insulin programme, based on its propriety molecular engineering of protein sensors (MEPS) platform, is showing significant promise and Lilly is excited to enhance our diabetes pipeline with the company’s innovative technology.”

“The Protomer team is excited to embark on the next chapter of our work at Lilly as we focus our efforts on advancing glucose-responsive insulins and accelerating the development of these next-generation protein therapeutics,” commented CEO and founder of Protomer, Alborz Mahdavi.

Katie Ellias, director at the JDRF T1D Fund, added: “This is a significant milestone for the type 1 diabetes community and a key step to bring the promise of Protomer’s game-changing technology one step closer to the clinic.”

Lilly’s statement can be found here.