Merck KGaA Ends Immuno-Oncology Pact wtih Symphogen
As part of its pipeline assessment, Merck KGaA has decided to return rights back to his collaboration partner, Symphogen, a private biopharmaceutical company developing recombinant antibody mixtures, Sym004, an antibody mixture targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), currently in Phase IIb and Ib trials.
Sym004 is comprised of two antibodies that are not only designed to block ligand binding, receptor activation and downstream signaling but are also thought to elicit removal of the EGFR receptors from the cancer cell surface by inducing EGFR internalization and degradation. The companies had signed a collaboration pact for the development and commercialization of Sym004 in 2012. Under the agreement, Merck had gained exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Sym004. In exchange, Symphogen received from Merck an upfront payment of EUR 20 million ($23 million) and was eligible for payments for clinical development, regulatory, and sales performance milestones as well as potential royalties on net worldwide sales. In 2014, Symphogen received three milestone payments from Merck KGaA for achieving certain agreed goals in the collaboration, including the initiation of new metastatic colorectal cancer and non-small cell lung cancer clinical trials.