Merck dives deeper into KRAS, teaming up with Taiho, Astex to develop small molecule drugs
As the race — led by Amgen — to subdue the notorious KRAS oncogene heats up in the early clinical space, Merck has decided it’s not enough to rely on their flagship PD-1 or the mRNA shared antigen vaccine they’re developing with Moderna.
The pharma giant is betting on a slate of preclinical small molecule candidates from Japan’s Taiho and Astex in the UK (the latter is a subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical) that target, among several others, KRAS. Altogether, Taiho and Astex will receive a combined $50 million upfront with $2.5 billion in biobucks to look forward to.
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