CoLucid Pharmaceuticals – a company that got away – fetches $960 million

CoLucid Pharmaceuticals, a drug-development company that got its start in Durham but moved its headquarters to the Boston area in 2015, has agreed to be acquired by Eli Lilly & Co. for approximately $960 million.

Publicly traded CoLucid was formed in 2005 by Durham venture capital firm Pappas Ventures after it licensed an experimental migraine drug – from Eli Lilly, no less – and acquiring other technology elsewhere.

Lilly said in Wednesday’s announcement that acquiring CoLucid bolsters its portfolio of drugs used to treat migraines. CoLucid has completed the first of two Phase 3 clinical trials for its experimental treatment lasmiditan for treating migraines and, if all goes well, a submission for regulatory approval for that drug could happen in 2018.

Lasmiditan is the experimental drug that CoLucid licensed from Lilly more than a decade ago

“At the time lasmiditan was out-licensed,” Lilly stated in its announcement, “pain management was not a strategic area of focus for Lilly. Lilly has since reorganized its research and development efforts to focus on migraine as part of its emerging therapeutic area of pain.”

Lilly has agreed to acquire CoLucid for $46.50 per share, a 33 percent premium above Tuesday’s closing price. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of March.