Merck makes big cancer buy with $2.7B ArQule deal

Dec. 9, 2019

Another day — another big oncology deal in pharma. This week, Merck & Co. announced that it is buying ArQule, a Massachusetts-based firm that specializes in precision therapies for cancer and rare diseases.

Absorbing ArQule’s pipeline, which includes several oral kinase inhibitors that work by blocking cancer-causing proteins, will help Merck diversify its oncology portfolio away from its blockbuster treatment, Keytruda.

The move is also in line with an ongoing trend in pharma with big companies buying up smaller cancer-driven biotechs. The market for kinase inhibitors alone has reportedly accounted for $97 billion in pharma acquisitions since 2010.

Barring regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close early next year.

Read the Reuters report.