Merck & Co's Viralytics Buy Puts Oncolytic Viruses Back In Spotlight
The US major is spending $394m to get hold of Cavatak, an immunotherapy that it hopes will work well in combination with the anti-PD-1 blockbuster Keytruda.
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The company has two oncolytic virus platforms – a herpes simplex-based intratumoral injection and a synthetic virus-based intravenous technology for repeat systemic administration.
Recently battered by clinical setbacks, Immune Design has a co-development partnership with Merck around Keytruda and Merck’s Perlmutter is a former board member. Merck would pay roughly $300m to acquire the company and its immune system-boosting technologies.
Paying €210m for a company that only has preclinical programs may seem steep but BI is clearly impressed with the progress being made by its Austrian partner's lead candidate.