Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lilly Alzheimer's imaging agent to get FDA review

Eli Lilly and Co. said it completed its purchase of Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc. for $300 million upfront plus potential milestone payments.

The company also said the Food and Drug Administration will perform a faster review of florbetapir, an imaging agent Avid has developed that may help diagnose Alzheimer's disease. Eli Lilly said the FDA will conduct a six-month priority review on florbetapir. The company agreed to buy Avid in early November, and said Avid had recently filed for FDA approval of florbetapir. That suggests the FDA will make a decision by early May.

Typical FDA reviews take 10 months. Eli Lilly said an FDA advisory panel will discuss florbetapir on Jan. 20.

Florbetapir is designed to detect an amyloid plaque in the brain. It is injected into potential Alzheimer's disease patients, who are then put through a scan. Currently, the only way to find the plaque is to conduct an autopsy after the patient dies.

Eli Lilly could pay as much as $500 million more to Avid shareholders if florbetapir is approved and reaches commercial milestones. Philadelphia-based Avid it does not have any products currently on the market.

Shares of Eli Lilly rose 3 cents to $35.04 Monday.