Merck & Co acquires Israel’s cCAM

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Merck & Co has boosted its immuno-oncology portfolio with the acquisition of Israel’s cCAM Biotherapeutics.

The US major will pay $95 million upfront and up to $510 million in milestones. In return, Merck gets several early immunotherapy candidates including cCAM’s lead therapy CM-24, a monoclonal antibody targeting the immune checkpoint protein CEACAM1. It is currently in Phase I for the treatment of melanoma, non-small-cell lung, bladder, gastric, colorectal and ovarian cancers.

“We continue to strengthen our portfolio of immunotherapeutic candidates through strategic collaborations and acquisitions,” says Roger Perlmutter, president of Merck Research Laboratories. The company is already a major player in the field with its PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab).