Merck & Co. Agrees To Acquire Tilos Therapeutics For $773 Million

By Emily Forster -

June 12, 2019

Merck and Co. has agreed to acquire Tilos Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics targeting the latent TGFβ complex against cancer, fibrosis and autoimmune diseases, in a deal valued up to $773 million. Merck, through a subsidiary, will acquire all outstanding shares of Tilos through a combination of upfront payments and contingent milestone payments.

Tilos has developed a portfolio of drug candidates that employ an approach to modulating the potent signaling molecule, TGFβ, by binding to latency-associated peptides, with potential applications across a range of disease indications, according to information from the companies.

TGFβ is a potent cytokine believed to play an important role in the development of cancer and fibrotic diseases. TGFβ is secreted as a complex with the protein, latency-associated peptide (LAP). LAP forms a cage around TGFβ, holding the cytokine in an inactive state until it is deployed. Evidence has shown that anti-LAP antibodies block the release of TGFβ from the TGFβ-LAP complex with the potential to provide a novel therapeutic mechanism to reduce TGFβ activity, according to information from the companies.

Tilos was founded with funding from Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Partners Innovation Fund, resulting from discoveries by the laboratory of Dr. Howard Weiner at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Source: Merck and Co.