Cancer Medication Developer to be Acquired by Merck

MAY 21, 2019
Merck has entered into an agreement to acquire Peloton Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel small molecule therapeutic candidates targeting hypoxia-inducible factor-2α (HIF-2α) for the treatment of patients with cancer and other non-oncology diseases.

“This acquisition exemplifies Merck’s strategy to pursue novel therapeutic candidates based on exceptionally promising and innovative research,” said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories, in a prepared statement. “Peloton scientists have applied their unique expertise in HIF-2α biology to develop PT2977, which has already shown intriguing activity in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. We look forward to advancing this late-stage asset as part of our broad oncology R&D program.”

Under terms of the agreement, Merck will acquire all outstanding shares of Peloton in exchange for an upfront payment of $1.05 billion in cash, through a subsidiary, according to the company. In addition, Peloton shareholders will be eligible to receive a further $1.15 billion contingent upon successful achievement of future regulatory and sales milestones for certain candidates, according to Merck.

The closing of the acquisition will be subject to certain conditions, including the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions. The companies anticipate the acquisition will close in the third quarter of 2019.

The acquisition agreement includes Peloton’s drug candidate PT2977, a novel oral HIF-2α inhibitor in late-stage development for renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

PT2977 is a potent, selective, investigational oral HIF-2α inhibitor currently being evaluated in multiple clinical studies, including a Phase 2 clinical trial in von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease-associated RCC, a Phase 2 clinical trial in combination with cabozantinib in metastatic RCC, a Phase 1/2 dose-escalation and dose-expansion clinical trial in patients with metastatic RCC, and an expansion arm of its Phase 1/2 clinical trial in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

In a prepared statement, John A. Josey, PhD, Peloton’s Chief Executive Officer, said his company is proud to have advanced PT2977 to its current stage of development, and believes that Merck is well-suited to build upon the progress made in advancing this drug.

“Merck is recognized as a leader in cancer research and shares our commitment to accelerating the development of candidates targeting HIF-2α to help patients with advanced cancers and other diseases,” said Josey.

Results from a Phase 1/2 study of PT2977 demonstrated favorable safety and early signs of antitumor activity as a monotherapy for the treatment of patients with advanced or metastatic RCC.


Reference

Merck to Acquire Peloton Therapeutics, Bolstering Oncology Pipeline [news release]. Kenilworth, NJ and Dallas, TX; May 21, 2019: Merck. https://www.mrknewsroom.com/news-release/research-and-development-news/merck-acquire-peloton-therapeutics-bolstering-oncology-pi. Accessed May 21, 2019.

SHARE THIS
3