Eli Lilly announced Tuesday morning that it has reached a definitive agreement to purchase Dice Therapeutics for $2.4 billion.

By acquiring Dice, a Bay Area-based biopharma focused on developing drug candidates in the immunology space, Lilly will gain access to the Delscape technology platform for developing novel oral therapeutics.

One of Dice’s most promising assets is DC-806, an oral antagonist of interleukin-17 (IL-17), the pro-inflammatory signaling molecule which is a validated drug target implicated in a variety of immunology indications. 

Dice also has developed drug candidates targeting a4B7 integrin for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Patrik Jonsson, EVP, president of Lilly Immunology and Lilly USA, chief customer officer, said in a statement that the pharma giant looks forward to combining Dice’s technological capabilities with Lilly’s scale to aid patients with severe autoimmune diseases.

The deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is subject to customary closing conditions but is expected to close in Q3. 

The stock price for Dice rose sharply by 37% on news of the buyout. Lilly is paying about a 40% premium to bring Dice into the fold.

“We’re eager to see our pipeline, including our oral IL-17 inhibitors, DC-806 and DC-853, benefit from Lilly’s resources and global reach and I’m excited by the prospect of watching these two talented teams in a united quest for scientific innovation,” Dice CEO Kevin Judice, PhD, said in a statement. “Our novel approach to discovering and advancing oral, small molecules against validated protein-protein interaction targets has even greater potential with Lilly’s industry-leading clinical development capabilities to get these medicines to patients suffering from autoimmune diseases.”

Adding Dice to its portfolio is yet another sign that Lilly has been active in the market this spring.

At the end of April, Lilly announced that it was divesting Baqsimi, its low blood sugar rescue treatment, to Amphastar Pharmaceuticals for $500 million. 

One month prior, Lilly reached a deal with Confo Therapeutics to gain licensing to Confo’s non-opioid neuropathic pain candidate, CFTX-1554, for $630 million upfront and there could be an additional $590 million in milestone payments.

Lilly also pumped $450 million into its North Carolina facility to boost manufacturing for its diabetes drugs.