Sector News

MSD buys UK cancer drug discovery group IOmet

January 13, 2016
Life sciences

MSD has snapped up British drug discovery group IOmet, securing access to a new batch of preclinical cancer candidates to help stock up its early R&D pipeline.

The move sees Edinburgh, UK-based IOmet – which is focused on the development of innovative oncology medicines with a particular emphasis on cancer immunotherapy and metabolism – become a wholly-owned subsidiary of MSD (called Merck in the US).

The deal, financial terms of which were kept under wraps, adds a comprehensive preclinical pipeline of IDO (indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase 1), TDO (tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase), and dual-acting IDO/TDO inhibitors to MSD’s pipeline.

IDO1 and TDO are key targets in the cancer immunotherapy field, as over-expression of these enzymes has been detected in a variety of cancers – including glioma, melanoma, lung, ovarian, and colorectal cancers – and is associated with poor prognosis and survival.

“Extensive preclinical evidence, and emerging clinical data, suggests that inhibition of IDO1 and/or TDO may synergise with, and help overcome resistance to, existing clinical cancer therapies, in particular other immunotherapy-based treatments,” said MSD.

According to Eric Rubin, vice president and therapeutic area head, oncology early-stage development, at Merck Research Laboratories, “the acquisition of IOmet is a further example of Merck’s commitment to fully realising the potential of this rapidly evolving field through our existing innovative portfolio as well as the acquisition of promising immunotherapeutic candidates”.

By Selina McKee

Source: Pharma Times

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