Merck acquires ArQule for $2.7bn to further diversify oncology pipeline

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Merck acquisition of ArQule : Merck has completed its previously announced acquisition of ArQule for $20 per share or about $2.7 billion as per the latest pharma acquisition news.

The pharma giant announced the deal in December 2019 in a move to further diversify its oncology pipeline with the Massachusetts-based ArQule focused on developing kinase inhibitors for the treatment of cancers and rare diseases.

Through the acquisition, Merck adds ARQ 531 to its oncology portfolio, which is the lead investigational candidate of ArQule. ARQ 531 is an oral Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor that is being studied in a phase 2 dose expansion trial for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.

Merck acquisition of ArQule

Merck acquisition of ArQule. Image courtesy of Business Wire/Merck.

The other drug candidates in ArQule’s portfolio are miransertib (ARQ 092), ARQ 751, and derazantinib.

Miransertib is being developed for the treatment of Proteus syndrome and PIK3CA-related overgrowth spectrum (PROS).

ARQ 751 is being developed for the treatment of solid tumors with AKT1 and PI3K mutations, while derazantinib is a multi-kinase inhibitor which can selectively inhibit the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) family.

Commenting on Merck acquisition of ArQule, Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter – president of Merck Research Laboratories, at the time of signing the deal, said: “ArQule’s focus on precision medicine has yielded multiple clinical-stage oral kinase inhibitors that have novel and important properties.

“This acquisition strengthens Merck’s pipeline with the addition of these strategic assets including, most notably, ARQ 531, a compelling candidate for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.”

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