Merck has signed an agreement to acquire late-stage immunotherapy firm, Immune Design, in a deal valued at around $300m.
As per terms of the deal, Merck’s subsidiary will pay $5.85 per share to purchase all outstanding shares of Immune Design.
Immune Design has next-generation in vivo approaches, which will assist the body’s immune system to fight disease.
The firm developed GLAAS and ZVex technologies that can stimulate the immune system’s natural ability to generate and expand antigen-specific cytotoxic immune cells to fight cancer and other chronic diseases.
Merck Research Laboratories president Dr Roger Perlmutter said: “Scientists at Immune Design have established a unique portfolio of approaches to cancer immunization and adjuvant systems designed to enhance the ability of a vaccine to protect against infection, which could meaningfully improve vaccine development.
“This acquisition builds upon Merck’s industry-leading programs that harness the power of the immune system to prevent and treat disease.”
The G100 is the Immune Design’s potent intratumoral TLR4 agonist, which demonstrated clinical benefit in multiple tumor types.
The G100 is composed of Glucopyranosyl Lipid A (GLA), which is a potent small synthetic molecule that selectively binds to the Toll-like Receptor-4 (TLR4) receptor.
Its action is expected to cause endritic cells to activate, capture endogenous tumor antigens and induce an anti-tumor immune response specifically relevant to each patient’s tumor type.
The firm’s technologies, the fundamental components of which have been licensed from the California Institute of Technology and the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), can be applied in infectious disease and allergy indications and are being developed through ongoing pharmaceutical collaborations.
The deal is expected to complete early in the second quarter of this year.
Immune Design president and CEO Dr Carlos Paya said: “We believe this agreement creates shareholder value by positioning our technologies and capabilities for long-term success with a leading, research-driven biopharmaceutical company.”
Merck is a global biopharmaceutical firm, which produces prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products.