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Merck Acquires Tilos Therapeutics to Add TGFβ-modulating Therapeutics for Cancer Treatment


Published On :   2019-06-11

America’s Merck, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, has signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Tilos Therapeutics, a US product-focused company that creates anti-latency-associated peptide (LAP) antibodies for cancer treatment. For a total potential consideration of around $773 million, Merck will acquire Tilos’ all outstanding shares through a subsidiary, as per the terms of the deal. The potential consideration includes contingent milestone payments and also an upfront payment. For Merck, the acquisition will add a pipeline of autoimmune, fibrosis, and cancer programs that target the latent TGFβ complex. Potent cytokine TGFβ is considered to play a vital part in the development of fibrotic diseases and cancer.

“Tilos takes pride in that our team has advanced the discoveries of the company’s scientific founders with the development of an anti-LAP antibodies portfolio, which is designed for realizing the complete potential of TGFβ-modulating therapeutics. The agreement with Merck, a biopharmaceutical research and development industry leader, best positions Tilos’ pipeline for a broad commercial and clinical success and meaningfully validates our company’s therapeutic approach,” said CEO of Tilos, Dr. Barbara Fox.

 

 

Evidence shows anti-LAP antibodies can provide mechanism to reduce TGFβ activity

TGFβ-focused drugs are expected to potentially complement or partner checkpoint inhibitors that have developed immuno-oncology in recent time. There is evidence that shows the release of TGFβ from the TGFβ-LAP complex can be blocked by anti-LAP antibodies, which could also provide an innovative therapeutic mechanism for reducing TGFβ activity.

“Through active execution of our business development strategy, we continue to enhance our robust pipeline at Merck. Tilos has created a powerful portfolio of candidates employing an innovative approach to modulating the TGFβ potent signaling molecule by binding to LAP, with potential applications in an array of disease indications,” said Merck Research Laboratories, Senior VP for Discovery and Translational Medicine, Dr. Dean Li.

In May 2019, Merck acquired Peloton Therapeutics to add to its kidney cancer treatment portfolio. Besides strengthening its cancer drug portfolio, this acquisition is expected to increase the company’s presence in the renal cell carcinoma domain.

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