Merck has snagged Edinburgh-based IOmet for an undisclosed sum, adding a preclinical pipeline of therapies that target the IDO/TDO pathways that may help spur an immune system attack on cancer.
A leader in the checkpoint inhibition field with the pioneering Keytruda, Merck is gaining access to technology that promises to target enzymes that are often overexpressed in cancers, leading to tryptophan depletion and high tumor levels of the breakdown product, kynurenine, an imbalance that tamps down the immune response.
As a result, IDO/TDO are two pathways that have attracted considerable attention from pharma companies zeroing in on immunotherapy. Roche struck a deal with India’s Curadev last April, paying $25 million up front and offering $530 million in milestones for access to its IDO/TDO work. Roche is considered just one step behind Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) with the PD-L1 checkpoint program for atezolizumab.
Incyte has already paired with Merck’s Keytruda–and other checkpoints–on its IDO1 drug epacadostat (INCB24360).
“The acquisition of IOmet is a further example of Merck’s commitment to fully realizing the potential of this rapidly evolving field through our existing innovative portfolio as well as the acquisition of promising immunotherapeutic candidates,” said Dr. Eric Rubin, vice president and therapeutic area head of oncology early-stage development at Merck Research Laboratories.
By John Carroll
Source: Fierce Biotech
Airnov provides critical healthcare industries with high-quality, controlled atmosphere packaging, to protect their products from moisture and oxygen. The business has manufacturing facilities in the USA, France, China and India and employs around 700 people.
Takeda of Japan has partnered with Hong Kong-based Hutchmed, gaining the commercial rights to colorectal cancer drug fruquintinib outside of China for $400 million up front, plus $730 million in potential milestone payments. Takeda also will help develop fruquintinib, which can be applied to subtypes of refractory metastatic colorectal cancer, regardless of biomarker status, the companies said.
On April 3, Scangos, who’s been chief executive officer at Vir since the start of 2017, will hand over the reins to Marianne De Backer, Ph.D. De Backer comes over from Bayer, where she currently heads up pharmaceutical strategy, business development and licensing. Alongside her CEO appointment, De Backer is set to join Vir’s board of directors, the company said Wednesday.