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When it comes to cancer drug deals, one hot protein family is raking in billions

August 21, 2019 / Arlene Weintraub

Hot cancer drugs have driven some of the biggest biopharma deals over the last decade, and thats certainly true of two of this years biggest transactions- Eli Lillys 8 billion dollars Loxo Oncology buy and Pfizers 11.4 billion dollars Array BioPharma acquisition. But the science behind those mergers speaks to a much larger trend in pharma M and A one that has spawned nearly 100 billion dollars in deals since 2010, according to a new analysis from SVB Leerink. Almost 40 Percent of the total value of pharma deals completed in that timeframe centered on drugs that inhibit kinases, which are proteins that are involved in cell signaling and can drive cancer, the analysts discovered. The Loxo deal brought Vitrakvi, which inhibits the kinase NTRK, into Lilly’s product line, along with two investigational kinase inhibitors. Array offers Pfizer the BRAF inhibitor Braftovi and the MEK blocker Mektovi. Vitrakvi has the potential to bring in $1 billion in sales, some have estimated, and posi...