Financial terms of the acquisition include an upfront payment of up to $110m to OncoEthix. Additional milestone payments of up to $265m are contingent upon certain clinical and regulatory events being achieved.
Founded in 2009 and led by Bertrand Damour, chief executive officer, OncoEthix aims to develop a small portfolio of oncology drug candidates. Its lead product, OTX015, is an investigational orally administered synthetic small molecule targeted to BET bromodomain proteins 2/3/4. OTX015 was in-licensed from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation in March 2012 following completion of Phase I clinical studies in healthy volunteers.
The company has raised a total of US$30m in venture capital to date from Index Ventures, SV Life Sciences, Endeavour Vision and Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners.
Through the acquisition, Merck has gained OTX015.