Harpoon Therapeutics acquired by Merck for $650m

Merck, known as MSD outside of the US and Canada, has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Harpoon Therapeutics, meaning it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck.
Harpoon’s lead candidate, MK-6070(formerlyHPN328)isa‘T-cell engager targeting delta-like ligand 3 (DLL3), an inhibitory canonical Notch ligand that is expressed at high levels in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and neuroendocrine tumours’, according to Merck’s press release. The candidate is currently being assessed for its safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics in a phase 1/2 clinical trial in certain patients with advanced cancers associated with the expression of DLL3. The trial will also evaluate the drug in combination with atezolizumab in patients with SCLC, having been granted Orphan Drug Designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this indication in March 2022.
Dr Dean Y Li, president of Merck Research Laboratories, commented: “We continue to augment and diversify our oncology pipeline with innovative approaches to help people with cancer worldwide. We are pleased to welcome our Harpoon colleagues to Merck and look forward to working together to advance a novel portfolio of T-cell engagers, including MK-6070.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck has acquired all shares of Harpoon, through a subsidiary. The transaction is being accounted for as an asset acquisition, with Merck recording a non-tax deductible charge to R&D expense of approximately $650m.