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Merck To Buy Privately-held, Clinical-stage Biopharmaceutical Company OncoImmune Adding To Suite Of Clinical Programs For SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19

By John F. Heerdink, Jr.

As per reports, Merck & Co., Inc.  (MRK) to acquire a privately-held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, OncoImmune in a definitive agreement where Merck, will acquire all outstanding shares of OncoImmune for an upfront payment of $425 million in cash through a subsidiary. OncoImmune shareholders will receive sales-based payments and payments contingent on the successful completion of certain regulatory approvals.

OncoImmune recently shared positive findings for its lead therapeutic candidate CD24Fc from an interim efficacy analysis of a Phase 3 study for the treatment of patients suffering from severe and critical COVID-19 with interim analysis of data from 203 participants. The trials reported by OncoImmune indicated that patients with severe or critical COVID-19 treated with a single dose of CD24Fc showed a 60% higher probability of improvement in clinical status, as defined by the protocol, in comparison to placebo.

“Meaningful new therapeutic options are desperately needed for possibly millions of people around the world who will develop severe or critical COVID-19 disease,” “Recent clinical investigations support the view that CD24Fc may provide benefit beyond standard of care therapy for COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen support, and hence will represent an important addition to the Merck pipeline of investigational medicines and vaccines designed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.” stated Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, President Merck Research Laboratories.

“Outstanding work by the OncoImmune team has provided compelling evidence regarding the use of CD24Fc in patients with severe and critical COVID-19 in our Phase 3 Trial,” “We look forward to working with the scientists and manufacturing engineers at Merck as well as regulators as we seek to accelerate the global development of this potentially important therapy.” stated Yang Liu, PhD, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of OncoImmune.

As per the agreement, prior to the completion of the acquisition, OncoImmune will spin-out certain rights and assets not under the CD24Fc program to a new entity which will be owned by the existing shareholders of OncoImmune. Merck will invest $50 million in the new entity and become a minority shareholder.

The deal is subject to approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions are expected before the end of 2020. Goodwin Procter LLP represented OncoImmune as its legal advisor and Guggenheim Securities as its financial advisor.

Merck & Co., Inc.  (MRK) is a global healthcare solutions provider that has been working towards bringing forward medicine and vaccines for some of the world’s most challenging diseases for more than a century.  They are committed to increasing health care access and continue to be at the leading edge of research. Merck has the industry’s largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. To learn more about Merck (MRK) and to track its ongoing progress please visit the Vista Partners Merck Coverage Page.

If you liked this story please consider, visiting the Atossa Therapeutics (ATOS) dedicated page at Vista Partners to learn about the Seattle-based biotech firm’s work towards finding therapeutic treatments for Breast Cancer and the Coronavirus. 

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(Read Original Story: Merck to Acquire OncoImmune in Business Wire)


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