Sun Pharma and Merck & Co. enter into Agreement for Tildrakizumab
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., and MUMBAI, INDIA: Merck & Co., Inc., known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. through their respective subsidiaries, today announced an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for Merck’s investigational therapeutic antibody candidate, tildrakizumab, which is currently being evaluated in Phase 3 registration trials for the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis, a skin ailment.
Under terms of the agreement, Sun Pharma will acquire worldwide rights to tildrakizumab for use in all human indications from Merck in exchange for an upfront payment of U.S. $80 million. Merck will continue all clinical development and regulatory activities, which will be funded by Sun Pharma. Upon product approval, Sun Pharma will be responsible for regulatory activities, including subsequent submissions, pharmacovigilance, post approval studies, manufacturing and commercialization of the approved product. Merck is eligible to receive undisclosed payments associated with regulatory (including product approval) and sales milestones, as well as tiered royalties ranging from mid-single digit through teen percentage rates on sales.
“Consistent with our previously announced global initiative to sharpen our commercial and R&D focus, including prioritizing our late stage pipeline candidates, we are pleased to enter into this agreement with Sun Pharma to help realize the potential of tildrakizumab for patients with chronic plaque psoriasis,” said Iain D. Dukes, Ph.D., senior vice president, Business Development and Licensing, Merck Research Laboratories.
"Sun Pharma is very pleased to enter into this collaboration with Merck, a recognized leader in the field of inflammatory/immunology therapies, for this late-stage candidate for chronic plaque psoriasis,” said Kirti Ganorkar, senior vice president, Business Development, Sun Pharma. “This collaboration is a part of our strategy towards building our pipeline of innovative dermatology products in a market with strong growth potential.”
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the requirements under the Hart Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
Tildrakizumab is an investigational humanized, anti-IL-23p19 monoclonal antibody that binds specifically to IL-23p19 and is therefore designed to selectively block the cytokine IL-23. Human genetics suggest that inhibiting IL-23 is effective for treating inflammatory conditions. In clinical studies for the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis, tildrakizumab demonstrates efficacy in blocking inflammation by blocking IL-23. Other potential indications, which may be evaluated in future, include psoriatic arthritis and Crohn’s Disease.
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