Merck KGaA announced today that it has signed a worldwide research and development agreement with sanofi-aventis U.S. Inc., under which its division Merck Serono and sanofi-aventis U.S. Inc. will collaboratively investigate novel experimental combinations of agents that could block specific pathways in cancer cells. This collaboration could deliver novel targeted oncology treatments with high therapeutic potential. The novel combinations involve Merck’s MEKI inhibitor MSC1936369B (also known as AS703026), sanofi-aventis PI3KII/mTORIII inhibitor SAR245409 (also known as XL765) and class I PI3K inhibitor SAR245408 (also known as XL147), respectively.
Under the terms of this agreement, each party will be initially responsible for conducting a Phase I dose escalation study of these product candidates. Sanofi-aventis will be granted a research and development license to MSC1936369B to assess safety and initial clinical activity in combination with its PI3K inhibitor SAR245408. In conjunction, Merck Serono will be granted a research and development license to SAR245409 in order to assess safety and initial clinical activity in combination with its MEK inhibitor MSC1936369B.
Dr. Wolfgang Wein, Executive Vice President for Oncology at Merck Serono said, In the spirit of personalizing and stratifying cancer care, it is a logical step to combine new exciting molecules across pipelines and companies early on, to explore combined activity against cancer pathways. We expect a strong synergy between both oncology units in driving the projects forward.
“This collaboration reinforces our commitment to maximize our portfolio and to provide better treatments for patients with cancer,” said Debasish Roychowdhury, M.D., Senior Vice President, Head of Global Oncology, sanofi-aventis. “Combining these two promising molecules makes eminent sense and we are excited to partner with Merck Serono.”