Pfizer teams up with Merck for cancer drug

Caitlin Morrison
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US PHARMACEUTICALS giant Pfizer announced yesterday it had signed a major cancer drug deal with German pharma company Merck.

Former AstraZeneca suitor Pfizer will pay an upfront fee of $850m (£544m) to the German company for sharing rights to develop its experimental immunotherapy drug.

The deal could also see Merck cash in up to $2bn in future payments depending on the drug’s success. According to the deal, both firms will jointly fund all development and marketing costs, and will share all revenues.

A potential treatment for multiple types of cancer, Merck’s MSB0010718C is an investigational anti-PD-L1 antibody, which blocks a tumor’s ability to evade the immune system’s defence.

Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s group president vaccines, oncology and consumer healthcare businesses, said: “This global alliance enables Pfizer and Merck to join forces and combine complementary strengths with the goal of meeting the needs of patients with multiple types of cancer.”

As many as 20 clinical development programmes are expected to start in 2015, including up to six Phase II or III trials that could be key to the drug’s regulatory approval.

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