Sunday, October 17, 2021

A year after buyout, Lilly to shutter Dermira’s Menlo Park facility and shed 163 jobs

Eli Lilly took a sizable leap into the dermatology market last year with its $1.1 billion acquisition of Dermira, picking up Qbrexza, the medicated cloth for excessive sweating, and a potential rival to Regeneron and Sanofi’s atopic dermatitis blockbuster Dupixent.

Now, about a year later, Lilly is selling Qbrexza and plans to shutter Dermira’s Menlo Park facility, shedding 163 jobs along the way, the San Francisco Business Times first reported Monday.

Eli Lilly filed a notice of 163 layoffs early this month, California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification website shows.

A representative from Lilly didn’t immediately respond to FiercePharma’s request for comment. 

Arizona-based Journey Medical will snap up Qbrexza, which drew in $24 million in sales in 2020. Journey said it expects the transaction to close in the second quarter of this year. 

Some Dermira employees could migrate over to Journey Medical as part the Qbrexza acquisition, BioSpace reports. However, it remains uncertain if that will be the case or how many might end up at the new Qbrexza owner.

RELATED: Lilly kicks off 2020’s predicted biopharma M&A boom with $1.1B Dermira deal

While Qbrexza is Demira’s only marketed drug, the company also boasts a pipeline that includes the phase 3 atopic dermatitis drug lebrikizumab, a monoclonal antibody for moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis that could rival the well-established incumbent Dupixent. 

Dermira paid Roche $80 million upfront for lebrikizumab in 2017. Roche could receive more than $1 billion more from the deal if lebrikizumab succeeds in testing and on the market.

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