Merck to Acquire Tilos Therapeutics


June 10, 2019 5:45 am ET

Merck Gains Portfolio of Investigational Antibodies Modulating TGFβ

KENILWORTH, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada,
today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to
acquire Tilos Therapeutics, a privately held biopharmaceutical company
developing therapeutics targeting the latent TGFβ complex for the
treatment of cancer, fibrosis and autoimmune diseases.

“At Merck we continue to enhance our robust pipeline through active
execution of our business development strategy,” said Dr. Dean Li,
senior vice president, discovery and translational medicine, Merck
Research Laboratories. “Tilos has developed a compelling portfolio of
candidates that employ a novel approach to modulating the potent
signaling molecule TGFβ by binding to latency-associated peptide, with
potential applications across a range of disease indications.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will
acquire all outstanding shares of Tilos for total potential
consideration of up to $773 million, including an upfront payment as
well as contingent milestone payments.

“We are proud that the Tilos team has advanced the discoveries of our
scientific founders by developing a portfolio of anti-LAP antibodies
designed to realize the full potential of TGFβ-modulating therapeutics,”
said Dr. Barbara Fox, CEO, Tilos. “This agreement with Merck, an
industry leader in biopharmaceutical research and development, provides
meaningful validation for our therapeutic approach and best positions
our pipeline for broad clinical and commercial success.”

Tilos was founded by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Partners
Innovation Fund, based on discoveries by the laboratory of Dr. Howard
Weiner at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Additional investment was provided by ShangPharma Innovation Fund.

About TGFβ and LAP

TGFβ is a potent cytokine believed to play an important role in the
development of cancer and fibrotic diseases. TGFβ is secreted as a
complex with the protein, latency-associated peptide (LAP). LAP forms a
cage around TGFβ, holding the cytokine in an inactive state until it is
deployed. Evidence has shown that anti-LAP antibodies block the release
of TGFβ from the TGFβ-LAP complex with the potential to provide a novel
therapeutic mechanism to reduce TGFβ activity.

About Merck

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical
company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been
inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of
the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription
medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we
work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver
innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to
increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs
and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of
research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that
threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer,
cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease
and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information,
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Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the
“company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of
the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs
and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to
significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with
respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the
necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be
commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or
risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially
from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry
conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest
rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of
pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the
United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost
containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained
by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development,
including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to
accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties
or delays; financial instability of international economies and
sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents
and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to
litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any
forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results
to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking
statements can be found in the company’s 2018 Annual Report on Form 10-K
and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (

Pamela Eisele
(267) 305-3558

Ian McConnell
(908) 740-1921

Teri Loxam
(908) 740-1986

Michael DeCarbo
(908) 740-1807

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