Issue Date: April 23, 2012
Merck Licenses Endocyte Conjugate
Merck & Co. has agreed to pay Endocyte, a West Lafayette, Ind.-based biotech company developing small-molecule drug conjugates, up to $1 billion for access to the cancer agent vintafolide and a companion diagnostic. Under the pact, Endocyte gets $120 million up front and up to $880 million in milestone payments if the drug gains approval to treat multiple types of cancer. Vintafolide is a conjugate that links folate to desacetylvinblastine monohydrazide, a potent vinca alkaloid chemotherapy agent. The drug is designed to get the cancer-killing alkaloid to cancer cells that actively take up folate.
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