Merck & Co. To Acquire Oncology Company VelosBio for $2.75 Bn

By Miranda Greenberg -

November 5, 2020

Merck & Co. has agreed to acquire VelosBio, a San Diego, California-based clinical-stage company developing cancer therapies, for $2.75 billion.

VelosBio develops cancer therapies targeting receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1). Its lead investigational candidate is VLS-101, an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting ROR1 that is currently being evaluated in a Phase I and a Phase II clinical trial for treating hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, respectively.

In October (October 2020), VelosBio announced the initiation of a Phase II clinical trial to evaluate VLS-101 for the treatment of patients with solid tumors, including patients with triple-negative breast cancer, hormone receptor-positive and/or HER2-positive breast cancer, and non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer. In addition, VelosBio is developing a preclinical pipeline of ADCs and bispecific antibodies targeting ROR1 with the potential to complement VLS-101 by offering alternative methods of tumor-cell killing.

The closing of the transaction is expected by the end of 2020.

Source: Merck & Co. and VelosBio