AZ pays $50m for Merck’s cancer drug

AstraZeneca and Merck & Co (known as MSD outside the US and Canada) have entered into a worldwide licensing agreement for Merck’s oral small molecule inhibitor of WEE1 kinase (MK-1775). MK-1775 is currently being evaluated in phase 2 clinical trials in combination with standard of care therapies for the treatment of patients with certain types of ovarian cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will pay Merck a US $50 million upfront fee. Merck will also be eligible to receive future payments tied to development and regulatory milestones plus sales-related payments and tiered royalties. AstraZeneca will be responsible for all future clinical development, manufacturing and marketing.

“MK-1775 is a strong addition to AstraZeneca’s growing oncology pipeline, which already includes a number of inhibitors of the DNA damage response. The compound has demonstrated encouraging clinical efficacy data and we intend to study it in a range of cancer types where there is a high unmet medical need.”

Susan Galbraith, Head of AstraZeneca’s Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit.

“Merck is committed to advancing potentially meaningful therapeutic options promptly for patients with cancer. “We are pleased to enter this agreement with AstraZeneca to realise the potential of MK-1775 while we focus on advancing our later stage oncology programs, MK-3475 and vintafolide.”

Iain D. Dukes, senior vice president and head of licensing and external scientific affairs at Merck.

The agreement is contingent to customary closing conditions.


Related news:

AstraZeneca pays $50 million for rights to Merck cancer drug (Economic Times)

Reference links:

AstraZeneca press release

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