Dean Li, Merck Research Laboratories president

Back again: Mer­ck will­ing to dole out more than $9B for Kelun’s AD­Cs

While all has gone qui­et on the M&A ru­mor front for Seagen, one of the pi­o­neers in an­ti­body-drug con­ju­gates, Mer­ck has been rack­ing up deal af­ter deal for AD­Cs out of a Cheng­du, Chi­na-based part­ner.

In the lat­est of three tie-ups with Kelun-Biotech, Mer­ck is like­ly en­ter­ing the his­to­ry books with a deal that could bal­loon to $9.3 bil­lion in back-end pay­ments — that’s if sev­en AD­Cs make it to mar­ket. That’s a huge if, as drug R&D is no­to­ri­ous for an ap­prox­i­mate­ly 10% suc­cess rate, but the im­me­di­ate boost to Kelun’s cof­fers is not small: $175 mil­lion plus an in­tend­ed eq­ui­ty in­vest­ment of undis­closed size.

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