Merck Serono and Threshold to co-develop cancer therapy

Pharmaceutical Company Product News

Merck Serono has entered into an agreement with Threshold Pharmaceuticals over the development of a new small molecule hypoxia-targeted drug for oncology applications.

The global agreement will see the companies co-developing and commercialising the compound TH-302, which is currently in phase III development as a soft tissue sarcoma treatment, while phase II studies are also assessing it as a therapy for advanced pancreatic cancer.

Merck will receive co-development and exclusive global marketing rights, while Threshold will have an option to co-commercialise TH-302 in the US.

Threshold will receive an upfront fee of 19 million euros (15.83 million pounds) under the deal, with up to 26.5 million euros in additional payments to be paid in 2012 and a further 15 million euros contingent on results from the pancreatic cancer trial.

Susan Jane Herbert, head of global business development and strategy at Merck Serono, said: "We are excited by the new resources that our partnership is going to bring to the development of TH-302 and the expertise in clinical development and commercialisation that Merck will contribute to this programme."

Last month, Merck Serono agreed a deal to distribute Mendor diabetes technology in the UK market, commencing this month.

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