Eli Lilly & Co. becomes the first major pharmaceutical corporation to make a serious move into biotech R&D when it purchases Hybritech, Inc., a San Diego monoclonal antibody company for an estimated $350 million. Industry analysts wonder whether the acquisition will trigger a wave of consolidation in the fledgling biotech industry: will Big Pharma flex its financial muscle and take control of the new biological tools? At the outset, the merger seems like a perfect match for both Hybritech and Lilly. The smaller company has the technology and the scientific skill, but is starved for cash. The corporate behemoth wants to use monoclonal antibodies as delivery vehicles for cancer chemotherapies and can afford to purchase the requisite intellectual and material resources because its venerable pharmaceutical business generates enormous revenues. In the end, however, the deal is disastrous. Ten years on, Eli Lilly & Co. unloads the subsidiary to Beckman Instruments for a reported $10 million.

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