Merck, Endocyte sign deal to develop cancer drug

Companies evaluate EC145 for ovarian, lung cancers

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Two drug makers have signed a deal to develop an experimental drug for treating two types of cancer.

Merck and Endocyte announced that they would develop and commercialize the latter's drug EC145 (vintafolide), currently in a phase-3 trial, as a treatment for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer and a phase-2 trial for non-small cell lung cancer. Both studies are also using Endocyte's experimental diagnostic agent, EC20 (etarfolatide).

"Vintafolide is a promising and innovative late-stage cancer drug candidate," Merck Research Labs EVP and president Peter Kim said. "In addition to pursuing the lead indication of platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, Merck plans to further evaluate its potential for treatment of multiple other cancer types."

Under the two companies' agreement, Merck will pay Endocyte $120 million plus up to $880 million in milestone payments based on various development, regulatory and commercialization goals. If the drug receives regulatory approval, Endocyte also will receive an equal share of U.S. profits and a double-digit percentage of royalties on sales in other countries. Merck and Endocyte will market the drug together in the United States, while Merck will have the exclusive right to market it in other countries.


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