Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), is paying $2.75 billion for VelosBio, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to developing first-in-class cancer therapies targeting receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1).
VelosBio’s lead investigational candidate is VLS-101, an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting ROR1 that is currently being evaluated in a Phase I and a Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies and solid tumours, respectively.
“At Merck, we continue to bolster our growing oncology pipeline with strategic acquisitions that both complement our current portfolio and strengthen our long-term growth potential,” said Dr. Roger Perlmutter, President, Merck Research Laboratories. “Pioneering work by VelosBio scientists has yielded VLS-101, which in early studies has provided notable evidence of activity in heavily pre-treated patients with refractory haematological malignancies, including mantel cell lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.”
“Merck is a recognised leader in oncology, and this acquisition reflects the hard work and commitment of all the employees at VelosBio in advancing the science of ROR1,” said Dave Johnson, Founder and Chief Executive officer at VelosBio. “We are very pleased that Merck has recognised the value of our first-in-class ROR1-directed investigational therapeutics. As part of Merck’s oncology pipeline, our lead product candidate, VLS-101, is now well positioned to achieve its maximum potential to benefit appropriate cancer patients in need.”
Image credit: National Cancer Institute