Pharma Focus Europe

Merck's Acquisition of Harpoon Therapeutics, Inc. Successfully Concluded

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Merck (NYSE: MRK), also known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has successfully completed its acquisition of Harpoon Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: HARP). Following this acquisition, Harpoon now operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck, and its common stock is no longer publicly traded or listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Dr. Dean Y. Li, President of Merck Research Laboratories, expressed the company's commitment to enhancing its oncology pipeline with innovative strategies to support cancer patients globally. He welcomed the Harpoon team to Merck, highlighting their collaboration in advancing a novel portfolio of T-cell engagers, including the lead candidate MK-6070.

MK-6070, formerly known as HPN328, is a T-cell engager designed to target delta-like ligand 3 (DLL3), which is highly expressed in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and neuroendocrine tumors. Currently, MK-6070's safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics are under evaluation in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial (NCT04471727) as monotherapy for advanced cancers associated with DLL3 expression. Additionally, the study is assessing MK-6070 in combination with atezolizumab in certain SCLC patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Orphan Drug Designation to MK-6070 for SCLC treatment in March 2022.

Merck's oncology pipeline also includes HPN217, a T-cell engager targeting B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), currently in Phase 1 clinical development for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. Furthermore, several preclinical stage candidates, such as HPN601, target epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) for certain patients with EpCAM-expressing tumors.

Merck, through a subsidiary, has acquired all outstanding shares of Harpoon as per the merger agreement. This transaction is accounted for as an asset acquisition, with Merck recording a non-tax-deductible charge to R&D expense of approximately $650 million. The impact of the transaction on expected full-year non-GAAP EPS is around $0.26 per share, as included in Merck's full-year 2024 financial outlook issued on February 1, 2024.

Merck's mission is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology treatments to support cancer patients worldwide. The company is dedicated to exploring immuno-oncology potential through one of the industry's largest development programs across more than 30 tumor types. Additionally, Merck continues to strengthen its portfolio through strategic acquisitions, prioritizing the development of promising oncology candidates to improve advanced cancer treatment.

 

Source: businesswire.com

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