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MSD to acquire Scottish firm IOmet Pharma

Published on 12/01/16 at 04:17pm
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US pharma company MSD is to buy Edinburgh based IOMet Pharma to expand its existing R&D programme, exploring the development of new immuno-oncology treatments for cancer.

Financial terms for the deal have not been made public, but IOMet is known to focus on the development of innovative medicines for the treatment of cancer, with a particular emphasis on the fields of cancer immunotherapy and cancer metabolism. The firm was established in 2008, and has shareholders including the Scottish Investment Bank.

Under terms of the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will acquire IOmet, including its comprehensive pre-clinical pipeline of IDO (indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase 1), TDO (tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase), and dual-acting IDO/TDO inhibitors. Based on the transaction, IOmet will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck.

Eric Rubin, vice president and therapeutic area head of oncology early-stage development at Merck Research Laboratories, says: “Merck’s leadership in immuno-oncology and expertise in development combined with the potential of our IDO1 and TDO programs creates significant opportunity for us to advance the treatment of cancer”

“By harnessing the power of the immune system, we are already witnessing great advancements in the treatment of cancer. The acquisition of IOmet is a further example of Merck’s commitment to fully realising the potential of this rapidly evolving field through our existing innovative portfolio as well as the acquisition of promising immunotherapeutic candidates.”

Merck was among the first big pharma companies to bring an immuno-oncology treatment, Keytruda, (pembrolizumab), to market globally. Sales of Keytruda in the third quart of 2015 were $160 million.

“Merck’s leadership in immuno-oncology and expertise in development combined with the potential of our IDO1 and TDO programs creates significant opportunity for us to advance the treatment of cancer,” said Alan Wise, chief executive of IOmet. “As a company we have benefited from proximity to world class life sciences research including the University of Dundee, an early stage collaborator with us on the IDO1 and TDO programs and from supportive shareholders including the Scottish Investment Bank.

“We now look forward to joining Merck and feel that this acquisition underscores the shared commitment we have to accelerating our programs to bring solutions to people who need them most.”

Lilian Anekwe

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