MerkKGaA, the German pharma company, is in news again. This time it has partnered, with Intrexon Corp (NYSE:XON) on Cancer drug development project in a deal worth $941 million. The deal comes just a few months after the German company made a $2.85 billion partnership deal with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE).
The company’s R&D department will be making a payment of $115 million upfront and further commitment of $826 million for two programs. The company will get Intrexon’s CAR-T tech, which was partially licensed from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
CAR-T is the latest breakthrough in Cancer research and has been in news after pioneers like Juno Therapeutics and Novatrtics showed that T cells can be reengineered to mount an antigen-specific on cancer cells.
Intrexon was founded by billionaire, Randal Kirk, and has deals, with MD Anderson worth $100 million that gave the company access to “Sleeping Beauty” a new and improved therapy safety profile.
In the pact which was the most important one for MD Anderson, the biotech company acquired tech developed by Laurence Cooper, a professor of paediatrics at MD Anderson and Perry Hackett, a professor at the College of Biological Sciences, Minnesota.
The pact with Intrexon was the most significant for MD Anderson in its cancer research. Earlier it also acquired biotech developed by Perry Hackett, a professor at the College of Biologial Sciences and Laurence Cooper, a professor of paediatrics at MD Anderson.
Intrexon committed $15-20 million to the research effort by the duo in their research efforts.
The deal according to Ron DePinho, President MD Anderson allowsa combination of various Techs, which can be used to form personalized T-cells to attack Cancer. The tech will allow a patient’s cells to adapt, with antigen receptors as well as render therapies to better combat cancer.
Merck KGaA’sdeal highlights a series of collaboration between various pharmaceutical companies to develop new cutting edge cancer technologies. Merk’s R&D department MerkSerino has seen some setbacks in its multiple sclerosis and its cancer research in recent times, so the move by Merk can be seen to reverse setbacks in cancer research.