Merck assigns Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) rights to Intrexon

MerckMerck, a leading science and technology company, today announced it has evolved its agreement with Intrexon Corporation (NASDAQ: XON) for the development of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies, genetically engineered T-cells with synthetic receptors that recognize a specific antigen expressed on tumor cells. The agreement with Intrexon and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Precigen, Inc. enables Merck to continue to implement its focused R&D strategy, while maintaining an investment in the future potential of next-generation CAR-T development.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck will assign its exclusive CAR-T development rights to Intrexon. Merck will receive shares of Intrexon common stock valued at $150 million in exchange for assigning Intrexon its CAR-T rights.

"Merck is excited to maintain its interest in the potential of CAR-T technology, which may offer significant future benefits to patients fighting cancer," said Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board and CEO Healthcare, Merck. "The agreement is also illustrative of our efforts to enhance our focus on accelerating the delivery of our innovative clinical pipeline to patients."

Merck first entered into a collaboration and license agreement with Intrexon in 2015 to develop and commercialize CAR-T cancer therapies utilizing Intrexon’s proprietary RheoSwitch Therapeutic System® and the Sleeping Beauty non-viral gene integration technology. The combination of these platforms enables regulation of gene expression and delivery with a non-viral approach and preclinical data indicate the potential to improve therapeutic safety and facilitate shortened manufacturing to improve time-to-treatment. As of December 31, 2017, these rights were considered intangible assets not yet available for use with a carrying amount of € 104 million.

"Merck's leading immuno-oncology research and commitment to developing innovative medicines made them an ideal partner for us in advancing targeted and controllable CAR-T therapies," said Helen Sabzevari, PhD, President of Precigen. "We look forward to continued development of these promising treatments with the goal of delivering more cost-effective, powerful, and precise therapies to patients in need."

In addition to receiving $150 million of Intrexon common stock, this agreement also includes a further $25 million investment in Intrexon. In return, Merck will receive a $25 million convertible note, providing the option to receive either Precigen or Intrexon stock. The closing of the transactions contemplated by the agreement is subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

About Merck

Merck, the vibrant science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 51,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people's lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices - Merck is everywhere. In 2017, Merck generated sales of € 15.3 billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials.

Most Popular Now

BioMotiv and Bristol-Myers Squibb announce the lau…

BioMotiv, a mission-driven drug development accelerator associated with The Harrington Project for discovery and development, that advances breakthrough discoveries from ...

CEPI and GSK announce collaboration to strengthen …

CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and GSK announced a new collaboration aimed at helping the global effort to develop a vaccine for the 2019-nCoV...

Sandoz completes acquisition of Aspen's Japanese o…

Sandoz today announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of the Japanese business of Aspen Global Incorporated (AGI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Aspen ...

Roche reports very strong results in 2019

In 2019, Group sales rose 9% to CHF 61.5 billion and core EPS grew 13%, ahead of sales. The core operating profit increased 11%, reflecting the strong underlying business...

Sanofi brain-penetrant BTK inhibitor meets primary…

The Sanofi Phase 2b study evaluating its investigational BTK (Bruton's tyrosine kinase) inhibitor (SAR442168), an oral, brain-penetrant, selective small molecule, achieve...

Sanofi completes acquisition of Synthorx, Inc.

Sanofi announced the successful completion of its acquisition of Synthorx, Inc. ("Synthorx") for $68 per share in cash. "The acquisition of Synthorx perfectly aligns w...

Merck donates one billionth praziquantel tablet

Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that it has already donated 1 billion tablets of praziquantel, the standard medication for the treatment ...

WHO, China leaders discuss next steps in battle ag…

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, met President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. They sh...

FDA approves first drug for treatment of peanut al…

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Palforzia [Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) Allergen Powder-dnfp] to mitigate allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, tha...

Poliovirus therapy shows potential as cancer vacci…

A modified form of poliovirus, pioneered at Duke Cancer Institute as a therapy for glioblastoma brain tumors, appears in laboratory studies to also have applicability for...

Bayer and Nuvisan create new research unit in Berl…

Bayer AG today announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to transfer a large part of its Berlin-based small molecule research unit to Nuvisan, an internationa...

AstraZeneca divests rights to established hyperten…

AstraZeneca has agreed to sell the global commercial rights to Inderal (propranolol), Tenormin (atenolol), Tenoretic (atenolol, chlorthalidone fixed-dose combination), Ze...