Merck to acquire coronavirus vaccine candidate developer Themis Bioscience

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Merck acquisition of Themis Bioscience : Merck has signed a deal to acquire Themis Bioscience, an Austrian vaccine developer for an undisclosed price with an objective to gain access to the latter’s coronavirus vaccine candidate.

Themis Bioscience by leveraging its measles virus vector platform has developed a pipeline of vaccine candidates and immune-modulatory therapies.

Recently, the Austrian vaccine developer joined Institut Pasteur and The Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh in a consortium for the development of the coronavirus vaccine candidate that will target the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The coronavirus vaccine program is backed by funding from Switzerland-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

As of now, the coronavirus vaccine candidate of Themis Bioscience is in the pre-clinical development stage. Clinical studies of the vaccine candidate are being targeted to begin later this year.

Merck acquisition of Themis Bioscience

Merck acquisition of Themis Bioscience. Image courtesy of Pete Linforth from Pixabay.

Commenting on Merck acquisition of Themis Bioscience, Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter – president of Merck Research Laboratories said: “Building on the pioneering work of the Institut Pasteur, the Themis team has established specialized expertise that complements Merck’s own capabilities in the discovery, development, manufacturing and global distribution of vaccines.

“We are eager to combine our strengths both to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine in the near term and to build a pandemic preparedness capability directed toward emerging agents that pose a future epidemic threat.”

According to Merck, the deal consolidates on its ongoing collaboration with Themis Bioscience for the development of vaccine candidates through the measles virus vector platform. The pharma giant hopes to fast track the development of the Austrian company’s coronavirus vaccine candidate.

Dr. Erich Tauber – CEO of Themis Bioscience, commenting on Merck acquisition of Themis Bioscience, said: “This acquisition by Merck, a global leader in vaccine development, reflects Themis’ success in applying our versatile immune-modulation platform that builds on the original discoveries from the Institut Pasteur.

“We are excited for the next phase of our relationship with Merck and in the near-term look forward to focusing resources toward the development and global scale-up of our candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.”

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