Merck Announces Two Oncology Collaborations with Seattle Genetics

September 15, 2020
BioPharm International Editors

The companies will focus on the development and commercialization of Seattle Genetics’ ladiratuzumab vedotin and TUKYSA (tucatinib).

Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Seattle Genetics, a biotechnology company focused on developing monoclonal antibody-based therapies for the treatment of cancer, announced on Sept. 14, 2020 that they have launched two new strategic oncology collaborations.

The first collaboration will focus on the development and commercialization of Seattle Genetics’ ladiratuzumab vedotin, an investigational antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting LIV-1, as a monotherapy in conjunction with Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy keytruda (pembrolizumab) in triple-negative breast cancer, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, and other LIV-1-expressing solid tumors, a Merck press release said. Seattle Genetics will obtain an upfront payment of $600 million with eligibility for up $2.6 billion in milestone payments, while Merck will make a $1 billion equity investment in five million shares of Seattle Genetics common stock.

Seattle Genetics has also provided Merck with a license to commercialize TUKYSA (tucatinib), a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor for the treatment of HER2-positive cancers, in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and other regions outside of the US, Canada, and Europe, the press release said. Seattle Genetics will receive an upfront payment of $125 million and will be eligible for milestones of up to $65 million through the deal.

“Collaborating with Merck on ladiratuzumab vedotin will allow us to accelerate and broaden its development program in breast cancer and other solid tumors, including in combination with Merck’s keytruda, while also positioning us to leverage our US and European commercial operations,” said Clay Siegall, PhD, president and CEO of Seattle Genetics, in the press release. “The strategic collaboration for TUKYSA will help us reach more patients globally and benefit from the established commercial strength of one of the world’s premier pharmaceutical companies.”

“These two strategic collaborations will enable us to further diversify Merck’s broad oncology portfolio and pipeline, and to continue our efforts to extend and improve the lives of as many patients with cancer as possible,” added Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories, in the press release. “We look forward to working with the team at Seattle Genetics to advance the clinical program for ladiratuzumab vedotin, which has shown compelling signals of efficacy in early studies, and to bring TUKYSA to even more patients with cancer around the world.”

Source: Merck