Lilly to buy cancer drug developer AurKa Pharma

The logo of Lilly is seen on a wall of the Lilly France company unit, part of the Eli Lilly and Co drugmaker group, in Fegersheim near Strasbourg, France, February 1, 2018. Picture taken February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

(Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co LLY.N will buy AurKa Pharma Inc in a deal potentially worth up to $575 million, the U.S. drugmaker said on Monday, seeking access to the privately-held firm's experimental cancer treatment for solid tumors.

The deal is Lilly's second in less than a week that aims to broaden its portfolio of lucrative cancer drugs. On Thursday, Lilly said it would buy Armo BioSciences Inc ARMO.O for about $1.6 billion.

AurKa Pharma will receive $110 million upfront and is eligible to earn up to $465 million more if it achieves regulatory and sales milestones.

AurKa’s chief drug under development was discovered by Lilly, but the drugmaker sold the compound in 2016 to TVM Capital Life Science, which established AurKa.

The drug, AK-01, is being studied in early-stage trials to treat multiple types of solid tumors.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Sai Sachin Ravikumar