The additional products will bolster its oncology portfolio.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

March 11, 2024

2 Min Read
Merck Acquires Harpoon Therapeutics
New products are in Phase 1 as well as in pre-clinical stages.Image courtesy of Peter Dazeley / The Image Bank via Getty Images

Merck has completed the acquisition of Harpoon Therapeutics Inc., an immuno-oncology company that is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck.

“We continue to augment and diversify our oncology pipeline with innovative approaches to help people with cancer worldwide,” said Dr. Dean Y. Li, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “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.”

Harpoon Therapeutics is a clinical-stage immunotherapy company developing a novel class of T-cell engagers designed to harness the power of the body's immune system to treat patients suffering from cancer and other diseases.

Harpoon’s lead candidate is MK-6070 (formerly known as HPN328), a 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 tumors. The safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of MK-6070 is currently being evaluated as monotherapy in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial (NCT04471727) in certain patients with advanced cancers associated with expression of DLL3. The study is also evaluating MK-6070 in combination with atezolizumab in certain patients with SCLC. In March 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Orphan Drug Designation to MK-6070 for the treatment of SCLC.

Additional candidates include a T-cell engager targeting B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), currently in Phase 1 clinical development for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, and several preclinical stage candidates, including a conditionally activated targeting epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) for the treatment of certain patients with EpCAM expressing tumors.

Another acquisition since the beginning of 2024 is by Merck's Animal Health division. The pharma giant acquired the aqua business of Elanco Animal Health Inc. in February to enhance fish health, welfare, and sustainability in aquaculture, conservation, and fisheries.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

Sign up for the Powder & Bulk Solids Weekly newsletter.

You May Also Like