Merck buys full rights to cancer drug Bavencio from Pfizer

PD-L1 antibody

Merck has bought the exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialise anti PD-L1 antibody Bavencio (avelumab) from Pfizer.

Merck will take full control of the global commercialisation of Bavencio through its affiliate Ares Trading. The transaction has also ended a long-term collaboration between Merck and Pfizer.

The current profit share will be replaced by a 15% royalty to Pfizer on net sales of the drug. Merck and Pfizer will continue their respective ongoing clinical trials for Bavencio, but Merck will control all future research and development activities.

As it is currently, product manufacturing and supply chain will remain solely with Merck, ensuring continuous and reliable access to Bavencio for patients.

“On behalf of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, I’d like to thank Pfizer for their partnership and collaboration over the last nine years, and for the role they have played in the success of Bavencio,” said Belén Garijo, Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

“Our joint efforts have delivered meaningful therapeutic value to patients around the world who are living with cancer. This has been an incredible journey for us, and thanks to Pfizer’s partnership we are now very well positioned to continue to deliver this therapy to patients in need.”

Oncology indications

Bavencio was discovered in-house at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The alliance between Merck and Pfizer was executed in 2014 to co-develop and co-commercialise Bavencio with the goal to accelerate development of the human PD-L1 antibody.

Bavencio is widely recognised as the standard of care for the first-line maintenance treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC) who are progression-free following platinum-based chemotherapy.

In combination with axitinib, it is also indicated for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and as a monotherapy for metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

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