Eli Lilly announced Monday morning that it is divesting Baqsimi, its low blood sugar rescue treatment, to Amphastar Pharmaceuticals for $500 million. 

The boards of directors at both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in either Q2 or Q3 2023 following customary closing conditions.

In addition to the $500 million in cash, Amphastar will pay Lilly $125 million in cash upon the one-year anniversary of closing. Lilly is also eligible for sales-based milestone payments of up to $450 million. 

Launched in 2019, Baqsimi has been used by people with diabetes as a nasally administered glucagon to treat severe hypoglycemia.

“Baqsimi’s positive impact has been felt by people with diabetes around the globe and we’re working closely with Amphastar to facilitate a successful transition and consistent patient experience,” Mike Mason, EVP and president of Lilly Diabetes and Obesity, said in a statement. 

Available as a rescue treatment in 27 international markets, Baqsimi has been a solid revenue generator, with worldwide sales totalling $139.3 million last year.

The sale is welcome news for Lilly, which recently saw the Food and Drug Administration reject its ulcerative colitis (UC) drug mirikizumab due to manufacturing concerns. Months earlier, Lilly’s Alzheimer’s drug donanemab did not receive accelerated-approval from the FDA.

Lilly has also faced growing competition in the diabetes space as other pharma companies have made key moves in recent weeks.

In mid-March, Sanofi agreed to buy Provention Bio, a biopharma developing therapies for diseases like type 1 diabetes, for $2.9 billion. One month later, Novo Nordisk announced an agreement with Aspect Biosystems to license the company’s bioprinting technology to develop up to four treatments for diabetes and obesity for up to $2.6 billion.

To bolster its operations, Lilly announced a $450 million investment in its Research Triangle Park facility in North Carolina to boost manufacturing for its diabetes products in late January. The company also kicked off a full-scale consumer campaign for its popular diabetes drug Mounjaro in March following a two-month shortage driven by widespread off-label use for weight loss.

As for Amphastar, the Baqsimi news comes more than a month after the company’s naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray received approval for a New Drug Application with the FDA.

“The acquisition of Baqsimi will integrate our core strategic vision of strengthening our proprietary products profile in addition to enhancing our diabetes portfolio offering,” Amphastar CEO Jack Zhang, Ph.D. said in a statement. “We are optimistic about Baqsimi’s growth potential as it is the first and only commercial intra-nasal glucagon demonstrated to treat low blood sugar emergencies.”