Merck buying Pandion Therapeutics in $1.85bn deal

Merck & Co. will add a pipeline of precision immune modulators and a drug design and discovery platform through the proposed acquisition of Pandion.

The deal, announced today, will see Merck & Co. pay $60 per share in cash for the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm, totalling roughly $1.85 billion.

Pandion is developing therapies for the tissue-specific treatment of patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and organ transplants. Its lead candidate, bispecific antibody PT101, is in early-phase clinical trial for ulcerative colitis (UC) and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Image: iStock/Roman-Didkivskyi

“Pandion grew out of our founders’ personal and scientific mission to change the way patients living with autoimmune diseases are treated. In just a few years, we have taken that mission from idea to clinical proof of mechanism with PT101, our lead IL-2 mutein,” Pandion’s CEO Rahul Kakkar said in a statement.

Merck will also add Pandion’s own Therapeutic Autoimmune reguLatOry proteiN (TALON) drug design platform. The firm’s TALON programs are based on immunomodulatory effector modules that act at known regulatory control nodes within the immune system. These have also been investigated in combination with an effector module with a tissue-targeted tether module in a bifunctional format to guide delivery of the effector to a targeted tissue, resulting in an accelerated pipeline of candidates for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

“Pandion has applied its TALON technology to develop a robust pipeline of candidates designed to re-balance the immune response with potential applications across a wide array of autoimmune diseases,” said Dean Li, president of Merck Research Laboratories.

Pandion does not own its own manufacturing facilities but has inked deals with third-parties to support its candidates. In 2018, the firm – fresh from a $58 million Series A financing – contracted Just Biotherapeutics for the development and clinical manufacturing of PT101.

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