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Merck To Buy OncoImmune; Submits Applications For 15-valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Merck & Co Inc. (MRK) said that it agreed to buy a privately-held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, OncoImmune for an upfront payment of $425 million in cash.

In addition, OncoImmune shareholders will be eligible to receive sales-based payments and payments contingent on the successful achievement of certain regulatory milestones.

OncoImmune recently announced positive top-line findings from an interim efficacy analysis of a Phase 3 study evaluating its lead therapeutic candidate CD24Fc for the treatment of patients with severe and critical COVID-19.

As per the deal, prior to the completion of the acquisition, OncoImmune will spin-out certain rights and assets unrelated to the CD24Fc program to a new entity to be owned by the existing shareholders of OncoImmune. Merck will invest $50 million, and become a minority shareholder, in the new entity.

The closing of the acquisition is expected before the end of 2020.

In a separate press release, Merck said that it has submitted applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency for licensure of V114, Merck's investigational 15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, for use in adults 18 years of age and older.

V114 previously received Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the FDA for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease in pediatric patients 6 weeks to 18 years of age and adults 18 years of age and older.

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