Darmstadt-based Merck KGaA is expanding its neuroinflammatory pipeline with the acquisition of Swiss biotech company Chord Therapeutics.
As part of the acquisition of Chord Therapeutics, which specializes in rare inflammatory diseases of the nervous system, Merck has acquired global development rights for the active ingredient cladribine for generalized signaling myasthenia gravis (gMG) and neuro-optic spectrum diseases (NMOSD), such as announced by DAX Group. The deal is expected to close in early 2022. Financial details have not been disclosed.
Generalized myasthenia gravis is a condition that manifests as muscle weakness and affects the muscles of the eyes, limbs, and airways. It severely impairs the quality of life of the people affected, estimated to number around 700,000 worldwide. NMOSD, also known as Divic syndrome, is an autoimmune disease that is often misdiagnosed as MS due to similar symptoms. An estimated 200,000 people are affected worldwide.
Merck said cladribine is a well-characterized molecule that has been extensively studied in MS and cancer and has shown promising results in exploratory studies on gMG and NMOSD. According to the announcement, the group intends to move forward with the development of an oral cladribine preparation specifically for these indications.
Merck shares are currently gaining 0.9 percent in XETRA to €221.80.
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