Merck has announced that it has entered a definitive agreement, through a subsidiary, to acquire VelosBio Inc. The cost of acquisition is $2.65 billion. VelosBio is a privately-held clinical-stage biopharma company that is developing cancer therapies that target receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1).
VelosBios is doing some good things in cancer research. Its lead investigational candidate is VLS-101, an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting ROR1 that is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1 and a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, respectively.
“Merck is a recognized leader in oncology, and this acquisition reflects the hard work and commitment of all the employees at VelosBio in advancing the science of ROR1,” said Dave Johnson, founder and chief executive officer at VelosBio. “We are very pleased that Merck has recognized the value of our first-in-class ROR1-directed investigational therapeutics. As part of Merck’s oncology pipeline, our lead product candidate, VLS-101, is now well-positioned to achieve its maximum potential to benefit appropriate cancer patients in need.”
The transaction associated with the deal is expected to close by the end of 2020. Merck was represented by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP as legal advisor and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC as financial advisor. VelosBio was represented by Cooley LLP as legal advisor and Centerview Partners LLC as financial advisor.