Lilly inks $3.2B Morphic buyout to snag oral rival to Takeda’s IBD blockbuster

Eli Lilly has agreed to buy Morphic for $3.2 billion, giving the Big Pharma control of an oral, midphase challenger to Takeda’s injectable inflammatory bowel disease blockbuster Entyvio.

Morphic’s pipeline is led by MORF-057. The oral small molecule inhibits α4β7, an integrin expressed on some white blood cells. Takeda showed targeting the integrin can control intestinal inflammation and improve outcomes in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The data turned Entyvio into a big product for Takeda, but its injectable delivery format left the door open for more convenient oral challengers. 

Lilly has come crashing through the door. Buying Morphic will give Lilly ownership of an oral challenger to Entyvio that is in phase 2 development in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s. Morphic took MORF-057 into phase 2 in 2022, putting it more than a year ahead of Gilead Sciences’ rival oral α4β7 candidate. Lilly previously acquired a preclinical…
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