Merck and Moderna Enter $250 Million Cancer Vaccine Partnership

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BP Elements, BioPharm International's BP Elements, November 2022, Volume 1, Issue 11

Merck has exercised a $250 million option with Moderna to jointly develop and commercialize cancer vaccine mRNA-4157/V940.

Moderna announced on Oct. 12, 2022 that Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, had exercised its $250 million option to jointly develop and commercialize a personalized cancer vaccine (PCV), mRNA-4157/V940. The vaccine is currently being evaluated in a Phase II clinical trial in combination with pembrolizumab, Merck’s anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), as an adjuvant treatment for patients with high-risk melanoma.

Under the agreement, originally established in 2016 and amended in 2018, the companies will collaborate on development and commercialization of Moderna’s PCVs, including mRNA-4157/V940. According to a company press release, costs and profits will be shared equally between the two companies.

"We have been collaborating with Merck on PCVs since 2016, and together we have made significant progress in advancing mRNA-4157 as an investigational personalized cancer treatment used in combination with [pembrolizumab]," said Stephen Hoge, President, Moderna, in the release. "With data expected this quarter on PCV, we continue to be excited about the future and the impact mRNA [messenger RNA] can have as a new treatment paradigm in the management of cancer. Continuing our strategic alliance with Merck is an important milestone as we continue to grow our mRNA platform with promising clinical programs in multiple therapeutic areas."


"This long-term collaboration combining Merck's expertise in immuno-oncology with Moderna's pioneering mRNA technology has yielded a novel tailored vaccine approach," said Eliav Barr, senior vice-president and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories, in the release. "We look forward to working with our colleagues at Moderna to advance mRNA-4157/V940 in combination with [pembrolizumab] as it aligns with our strategy to impact early stage disease."

Source: Moderna