Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, will pay up to $550 million for Germany-based Rigontec, said to be a pioneer in accessing the retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) pathway, part of the innate immune system, as a novel and distinct approach in cancer immunotherapy to induce both immediate and long-term anti-tumor immunity.
Rigontec’s lead candidate, RGT100, is currently in Phase I development evaluating treatment in patients with various tumors. Merck, through a subsidiary, will make an upfront cash payment of €115 million to Rigontec’s shareholders; based on the attainment of certain clinical, development, regulatory and commercial milestones, Merck may make additional contingent payments of up to €349 million.
“Rigontec’s immuno-oncology approach of engaging the innate immune system to safely eliminate cancer cells complements our strategy and our current pipeline,” said Dr. Eric Rubin, vice president of early-stage development, clinical oncology, Merck Research Laboratories. “We are eager to build upon Rigontec’s science as we continue our efforts in bringing forward meaningful advances for patients with cancer.”
For more information about Merck's oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.