Through a subsidiary, Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, is to acquire Peloton Therapeutics, Inc., a Dallas, TX-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, for up to $2.30 billion.
Under terms of the agreement, Merck’s subsidiary will acquire all outstanding shares of Peloton in exchange for an upfront payment of $1.05 billion in cash. In addition, Peloton shareholders will be eligible to receive a further $1.15 billion contingent upon successful achievement of future regulatory and sales milestones for certain candidates.
Led by John A. Josey, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Peloton Therapeutics focuses on the development of novel small molecule therapeutic candidates targeting hypoxia-inducible factor-2α (HIF-2α) for the treatment of patients with cancer and other non-oncology diseases. Its lead candidate is PT2977, a novel oral HIF-2α inhibitor in late-stage development for renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
PT2977 is a potent, selective, investigational oral HIF-2α inhibitor currently being evaluated in multiple clinical studies. Specifically, PT2977 is being evaluated in a Phase 2 clinical trial in von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease-associated RCC, a Phase 2 clinical trial in combination with cabozantinib, a VEGFR-targeting agent, in metastatic RCC, a Phase 1/2 dose-escalation and dose-expansion clinical trial in patients with metastatic RCC, and an expansion arm of its Phase 1/2 clinical trial in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
In cancer, HIF-2α is aberrantly activated in these diseases as a result of the inactivity of the VHL tumor suppressor. This inactivation of the VHL tumor suppressor is observed in over 90% of clear cell RCC, the most common form of kidney cancer.
Results from a Phase 1/2 study of PT2977 demonstrated favorable safety and early signs of anti-tumor activity as a monotherapy for the treatment of patients with advanced or metastatic RCC.
The closing will be subject to certain conditions, including the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions. The acquisition will close in the third quarter of 2019.