Merck KGaA, Vera Therapeutics in $711-M Deal for Investigational Protein

By Miranda Greenberg -

November 12, 2020

Merck KGaA has taken a 10% equity stake and formed an out-licensing agreement with Vera Therapeutics, a San Francisco, California-based biopharmaceutical company, for the further development of Vera’s investigational therapy, atacicept, an investigational drug for treating certain autoimmune-based diseases, in a deal worth up to EUR 605 million ($711 million).

Under the deal, Merck KGaA will obtain a 10% equity stake in Vera Therapeutics and pay up to EUR 605 million ($711 million) in development and commercial milestones, plus royalties on any future net sales. Vera Therapeutics will assume full responsibility for the development and commercialization of the atacicept program in all indications. A Phase IIb study for treating IgA nephropathy, an autoimmune kidney disease, is planned to start in the second quarter of 2021.

Atacicept is recombinant fusion protein. Merck KGaA acquired exclusive worldwide development and commercialization rights for atacicept in 2008 from ZymoGenetics, a Seattle, Washington-based biopharmaceutical company. ZymoGenetics was subsequently acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2010. Atacicept has since then been solely developed by Merck KGaA.

Source: Merck KGaA