Eli Lilly has confirmed that it will buy targeted cancer drug maker Loxo Oncology for $8 billion, acquiring its TRK inhibitor Vitrakvi in the process. This was the first drug approved by the FDA which targets tumours according to a genetic abnormality, rather than cancer location.

Eli Lilly will also acquire three targeted cancer drugs, including a follow-up TRK inhibitor, an RET inhibitor called LOXO-292 and an oral BTK inhibitor. The deal could speed up LOXO-292’s approval, giving it a possible 2020 launch.

This deal follows a number of weeks in which Lilly showed a higher than expected revenue and profit forecast for 2019, driven largely by the company’s oncology portfolio, in particular its breast cancer drug Verzenio.