Merck to acquire US biopharma company Peloton Therapeutics in $2.2bn deal

Merck acquisition of Peloton : Pharma giant Merck is set to acquire US biopharma company Peloton Therapeutics in a deal worth up to $2.2 billion, according to pharma acquisition news.

Based in Texas, Peloton Therapeutics is a clinical-stage company engaged in the development of small molecule therapeutics that target hypoxia-inducible factor-2α (HIF-2α) for the treatment of cancer and other non-oncology diseases.

Terms of Merck acquisition of Peloton

As per the terms of the agreement for Merck acquisition of Peloton, signed in May 2019, a subsidiary of the pharma major will acquire all the shares of the Texan biopharma company for an upfront payment of $1.05 billion in cash. Apart from that, shareholders of Peloton Therapeutics will be entitled to be paid a further $1.15 billion, which will be based on the future sales of certain drug candidates.

Merck acquisition of Peloton
Merck acquisition of Peloton. Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/Freedigitalphotos.net.

The company’s main candidate is PT2977, an oral HIF-2α inhibitor, which is currently in late-stage development for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). PT2977 is being evaluated in various clinical studies, especially in a phase 2 clinical trial in von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease-associated renal cell carcinoma, a phase 2 clinical trial in combination with VEGFR-targeting agent cabozantinib in metastatic condition of the same disease, a phase 1/2 dose-escalation and dose-expansion clinical trial in patients with the same condition of metastatic RCC, and an expansion arm of its phase 1/2 clinical trial in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Commenting on Merck acquisition of Peloton, Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter – president of Merck Research Laboratories, said: “This acquisition exemplifies Merck’s strategy to pursue novel therapeutic candidates based on exceptionally promising and innovative research.

“Peloton scientists have applied their unique expertise in HIF-2α biology to develop PT2977, which has already shown intriguing activity in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. We look forward to advancing this late-stage asset as part of our broad oncology R&D program.”

Merck acquisition of Peloton is expected to be wrapped up in Q3 2019 depending on the meeting of customary conditions such as the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

John A. Josey – CEO of Peloton Therapeutics, commenting on Merck acquisition of Peloton, said: “Merck is recognized as a leader in cancer research and shares our commitment to accelerating the development of candidates targeting HIF-2α to help patients with advanced cancers and other diseases.

“We are proud to have advanced PT2977 to this stage of development and believe that Merck is well suited to build upon the progress our company has made.”

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