Mer­ck inks Keytru­da deal with Sur­face On­col­o­gy; Rock­et Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals gets ex­pe­dit­ed re­view of gene ther­a­py for rare pe­di­atric dis­ease 

Mer­ck’s cash cow Keytru­da has found an­oth­er part­ner.

The phar­ma took the wraps off a col­lab­o­ra­tion deal on Tues­day to pair Keytru­da with Sur­face On­col­o­gy’s IL-27 tar­get­ing an­ti­body SRF388. The com­bo will be stud­ied as a com­po­nent of Sur­face’s Phase I study for SRF388 in pa­tients with sol­id tu­mors, specif­i­cal­ly those with liv­er and kid­ney can­cer.

Sur­face has iden­ti­fied spe­cif­ic tu­mor types in which it be­lieves IL-27 plays a role in re­sis­tance to check­point in­hibitors. The com­pa­ny says it got the ini­tial Phase I re­sults it was look­ing for back in No­vem­ber, and is now head­ed in­to the ex­pan­sion stage of the study. The ini­tial re­sults are ex­pect­ed to be read out in the first half of this year.

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