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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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