Partnering News: Lilly, Merck & Co., Merck KGaA & More

A roundup of bio/pharmaceutical partnering news from Merck & Co./Moderna, Lilly/Nimbus, Lilly/Schrödinger, and Merck KGaA/Biocorp.

* Merck & Co., Moderna in $250-M Option for Cancer Vaccines
* Lilly, Nimbus in $496-M Metabolic Disease Pact
* Lilly, Schrödinger in $425-M Pact for Small-Molecule Drugs
* Merck KGaA, Biocorp in Pact for Smart Drug Delivery

Merck & Co., Moderna in $250-M Option for Cancer Vaccines
Merck & Co. has exercised a $250-million option with Moderna to jointly develop and commercialize personalized mRNA cancer vaccine candidates, including mRNA-4157/V940, which is n Phase II development and being evaluated in combination with Merck’s cancer immunotherapy, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in patients with high-risk melanoma.

Under the agreement, originally established in 2016 and amended in 2018, Merck & Co. will pay Moderna $250 million to exercise its option for personalized cancer vaccines, including mRNA-4157/V940, and will collaborate on development and commercialization. Merck and Moderna will share costs and any profits equally under this worldwide collaboration.

Personalized cancer vaccines are designed to prime the immune system so that a patient can generate a tailored antitumor response to his/her tumor mutation signature to treat his/her cancer. mRNA-4157/V940 is designed to stimulate an immune response by generating T cell responses based on the mutational signature of a patient’s tumor.

Source: Merck & Co. and Moderna

Lilly, Nimbus in $496-M Metabolic Disease Pact
Eli Lilly and Company and Nimbus Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based clinical stage bio/pharmaceutical company, have formed a research collaboration and exclusive, worldwide license agreement for the development and commercialization of select small-molecule drugs for treating metabolic diseases in a deal worth up to $496 million ($496 million in payments, milestones, royalties and funding).

The targeted therapies will activate a specific isoform of activated protein kinase (AMPK) to treat disorders of dysregulated metabolism, a common symptom of metabolic diseases.

Under the collaboration, Nimbus will be responsible for research activities, and Lilly will be responsible for development and commercialization activities worldwide. Financial consideration for Nimbus includes a series of payments, funding, and milestones spread through research, development and commercialization, potentially reaching up to $496 million in total. Nimbus is eligible to receive tiered royalties on global net sales ranging from mid-single- to low double-digits.

Source: Nimbus Therapeutics

Lilly, Schrödinger in $425-M Pact for Small-Molecule Drugs
Eli Lilly and Company and Schrödinger, a New York-based company applying a physics-based computational platform to drug discovery, have formed a collaboration to discover, develop, and commercialize small-molecule drugs based on a certain target in a deal worth up to $425 million (undisclosed upfront payment and up to $425 million in milestone payments).

Under the agreement, Schrödinger will be responsible for the discovery and optimization of small-molecule compounds addressing a given target, and Lilly will be responsible for the completion of preclinical development, clinical development, and commercialization.

Schrödinger will receive an upfront payment and will be eligible to receive up to $425 million in discovery, development and commercial milestone payments. Schrödinger is also eligible to receive low single- to low double-digit royalties on net sales of any products emerging from the collaboration in all markets.

Source: Schrödinger

Merck KGaA, Biocorp in Pact for Smart Drug Delivery
Merck KGaA and Biocorp, a Issoire, France-based medical device company, have entered into an agreement for the development and supply of a specific version of Biocorp’s Mallya, a Bluetooth-enabled clip-on device for pen injectors, as an accessory for one of Merck KGaA’s drug-delivery devices in a deal worth up to EUR 13 million ($12.7 million).

Mallya uses technology that collects the dose and time of each injection and transfers information in real time to companion software. Biocorp has agreements with Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Merck KGaA to develop specific versions of the technology for insulin and human growth hormone. Commercial versions of it for insulin pen injectors are already available and distributed in Europe and other geographies.

Biocorp and Merck KGaA will develop a new version of Mallya to help patients monitor their injection during treatment. The device will automatically keep track of doses injected with a timestamp and indicate that the product is administered properly.

Merck KGaA will make payments of up to EUR 5 million ($4.9 million) for the development of the product during the first three years of the collaboration. Additional revenues are estimated to reach up to EUR 8 million ($7.8 million) during the first five years after launch depending on commercial milestones and adoption of Mallya devices by Merck KGaA.

Source: Biocorp