Merck Serono partners with BeiGene to develop cancer drug

Merck_Serono web Merck Serono has formed a global agreement with Chinese biotechnology company BeiGene to license, co-develop and commercialise an innovative cancer drug.

BeiGene-283, a second-generation BRAF inhibitor, is expected to enter clinical trials next year; it could be used to treat a number of human cancers.

BeiGene, who discovered the drug, will develop and commercialise it in China and Merck Serono will develop and commercialise it (as BGB-283) in the rest of the world.

The Beijing-based company will receive an upfront payment, and is eligible for both clinical development and commercial milestone payments and up to double-digit royalties on net sales.

BRAF inhibitors target the BRAF protein, a component of the MAPK signalling pathway, which promotes cancer cell growth.

Dr Susan Jane Herbert, Head of Global Business Development and Strategy at Merck Serono, said: “Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to forge strategic partnerships in China with companies focusing on innovation.

“The collaboration with BeiGene brings together two teams with a common interest in finding solutions in the battle against cancer.”

“We are very much looking forward to collaborating with Merck around BeiGene-283,” commented John Oyler, CEO of BeiGene.

“Our collaboration will accelerate the global development and commercialisation of this novel, China-discovered oncology innovation, something we could not have achieved alone.”

BeiGene is a biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing and commercialising innovative cancer drugs. German-based firm Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck.