AZ, Merck announce licensing deal for potential treatment for ovarian cancer

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AstraZeneca and Merck & Co Inc  announced a  worldwide licensing agreement for Merck’s  ovarian cancer drug MK-1775.

AstraZeneca has administrative and manufacturing operations in northern Delaware.

MK-1775 is currently being evaluated in Phase IIa clinical studies in combination with standard of care therapies for the treatment of patients with certain types of ovarian cancer.

MK-1775 is designed to cause certain tumor  cells to divide without undergoing the normal DNA repair processes, ultimately leading to cell death.

Early vidence suggests that the cobination of MK-1775 and chemotherapy agents can enhance anti-tumor properties, in comparison to chemotherapy alone.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will pay Merck a $50 million upfront fee. In addition Merck will be eligible to receive future payments tied to development and regulatory milestones plus sales-related payments and  royalties.

AstraZeneca will be responsible for all future clinical development, manufacturing and marketing.

“MK-1775 is a strong addition to AstraZeneca’s growing oncology pipeline, which already includes a number of inhibitors of the DNA damage response,” said Susan Galbraith, head of AstraZeneca’s Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit. “The compound has demonstrated encouraging clinical efficacy data and we intend to study it in a range of cancer types where there is a high unmet medical need.

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