Fresh from writing off one of its top late-stage programs, Merck KGaA stepped up with a revised comeback plan today, detailing plans to invest about $500 million in a late-stage effort to develop new biosimilars while scouting for a major-league partner to come in on its PD-L1 immuno-oncology program. And the company pointed to its current lineup of three star players in the pipeline, including one that has already posted a clinical failure.
Sutro Biopharma has landed another marquee name for its list of development partners for antibody-drug conjugates. Merck KGaA, which has been struggling in the clinic for years, has signed on with the San Francisco-based biotech, offering a $300 million package of milestones along with some unspecified research support.
About a year ago Merck KGaA made the controversial decision to revive its late-stage program for the cancer vaccine Stimuvax, trying to start off fresh by renaming it tecemotide and pointing it toward a subpopulation of non-small cell lung cancer patients which appeared to respond in its very big failed Phase III. Today, the program is--once again--officially terminated.
Facing dwindling sales and a thin late-stage pipeline, Merck KGaA is looking to accelerate its efforts in allergy drug development, signing a deal with an Austrian biotech with hopes of quickly seeding new programs in the field.
Tecemotide, Merck KGaA's 9-lived cancer vaccine, has flunked another clinical trial, missing its main goal in a Japanese study and casting further doubts on the program's future.
Merck KGaA is talking up deals again, pointing to its healthy cash reserves and saying it can well afford a blockbuster buyout to bolster its pipeline. But that's been the story for nearly a year, so what's the German giant waiting on?
Merck KGaA, in the middle of a reformation plot in its biopharma division, has found a new head of drug R&D, moving on after its last research chief lasted just 6 months in the job.
Mersana Therapeutics has inked another antibody-drug conjugate development pact, this time with the R&D team at Merck KGaA in Germany.
Merck KGaA is backing out of its multiple sclerosis deal with Japan's Ono Pharmaceutical, deciding not to take the plunge on Phase III development for a drug that would face stiff competition.
MorphoSys has notched another high-profile pharma partnership on its belt of antibody deals, and it's set its sights on immune checkpoint inhibitors. With this pact, Merck KGaA is also staking out a position on the growing roster of companies scrambling to find a profitable place for itself in immuno-oncology.