Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) announced today its acquisition of German biotech start-up, Rigontec for approximately €464 million or $550 million to further advance studies and research in cancer treatment development.
Merck agreed to pay €115 million up front to Rigontec’s shareholders under the terms of the agreement. Merck may make additional payments of up to €349 million.
Rigontec is the leader in RIG-I targeting therapeutics. Rigontec’s RIG-I activates immediately as well as long term response to the innate immune system. The startup company is currently testing RGT100 and is in Phase 1 development in examining patients with various types of tumors.
Merck’s mission is to deliver innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer. The merger of the two companies can combine their technologies and research in order to further their treatments for patients battling cancer.
“Rigontec’s immuno-oncology approach of engaging the innate immune system to safely eliminate cancer cells complements our strategy and our current pipeline,” said Eric Rubin, vice president of early-stage development, clinical oncology, Merck Research Laboratories.
Christian Schetter, CEO of Rigontec said, “We are confident that our programs will be in the best hands and that the team at Merck will continue the work we established with our scientific founders and brought into the clinic within three years since our foundation as a company.”