Merck Acquires ArQule for $2.7 Billion

December 12, 2019

Through the acquisition, Merck will gain access to ArQule’s lead investigational candidate, ARQ 531, a novel, oral Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor currently in a Phase II dose expansion study for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.

Merck announced on Dec. 9, 2019 that it will acquire ArQule, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Woburn, MA, for $20 per share in cash, which will total to approximately $2.7 billion.

Merck will acquire all shares of ArQule through a subsidiary which will eventually be merged into ArQule upon completion of the transaction, which is expected to close during the first quarter of 2020.

Through the acquisition, Merck will gain access to ArQule’s lead investigational candidate, ARQ 531, a novel, oral Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor currently in a Phase II dose expansion study for the treatment of B-cell malignancies, according to a Merck press release. The drug showed early signs of anti-tumor activity for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and Richter’s Transformation in clinical trials.

“ArQule’s focus on precision medicine has yielded multiple clinical-stage oral kinase inhibitors that have novel and important properties,” said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories, in the press release. “This acquisition strengthens Merck’s pipeline with the addition of these strategic assets including, most notably, ARQ 531, a compelling candidate for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.”

“We are proud that Merck has recognized the contributions that ArQule, together with its scientific collaborators, has made to the field of precision medicine in oncology with ARQ 531 for the treatment of B-cell malignancies and with the rest of our clinical-stage pipeline,” said Paolo Pucci, CEO, ArQule, in the press release. “With this agreement, ArQule’s pipeline will benefit from Merck’s vast capabilities and determined engagement to benefit the patients who we have always strived to serve.”

Source: Merck