Lilly will acquire Akouos to accelerate hearing loss therapies

Eli Lilly and Company’s $610 million acquisition of Akouos will fast-track gene therapies that restore, improve and preserve hearing for patients worldwide.

Three dimensional concept of Adeno associated viruses

Eli Lilly is set to acquire Akouos, Inc, a precision genetic medicine company developing first-in-class adeno-associated viral gene therapies for treating inner ear conditions like sensorineural hearing loss. 

Akouos’s lead product candidate AK-OTOF, is a gene therapy that treats hearing loss caused by mutations in the otoferlin gene (OTOF). 

Other programmes in development include:

  • AK-CLRN1 for Usher Type 3A, an autosomal recessive disorder characterised by progressive loss of both hearing and vision
  • GJB2 (which encodes connexin 26) for a common type of monogenic deafness and hearing loss
  • AK-antiVEGF to help treat vestibular schwannoma

Dr Emmanuel Simons, co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Akouos remarked: “Joining Lilly will help us accelerate the development of a broad pipeline of inner ear genetic medicines.” 

Under the terms of the deal, Lilly will acquire all outstanding shares of Akouos for $12.50 per share in cash, plus one contingent value right of up to $3.00 per share. The deal, worth up to $610 million, has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

Dr Andrew C. Adams, Senior Vice President of genetic medicine and co-director of the Institute for Genetic Medicine at Lilly declared: “We believe that with Lilly’s resources, global reach and growing capabilities in gene therapy, we can help Akouos fulfil their mission of making healthy hearing available to all.”

“Gene therapy offers tremendous opportunity to provide durable treatments for patients with genetically defined disease. This is our second acquisition in gene therapy, following the 2021 acquisition of Prevail Therapeutics,” added Dr Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s Chief Scientific and Medical Officer and President of Lilly Research Laboratories. “With Akouos, we are optimistic that we can make a difference for people with hearing loss.”

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions.