Ken Frazier, Merck CEO (Bess Adler/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mer­ck takes a swing at the IL-2 puz­zle­box with a $1.85B play for buzzy Pan­dion and its au­toim­mune hope­fuls

When Roger Perl­mut­ter bid farewell to Mer­ck late last year, the drug­mak­er per­haps best known now for sales gi­ant Keytru­da sig­naled its in­tent to take a swing at ear­ly-stage nov­el­ty with the ap­point­ment of dis­cov­ery head Dean Li. Now, Mer­ck is sign­ing a de­cent-sized check to bring an IL-2 moon­shot in­to the fold.

Mer­ck will shell out rough­ly $1.85 bil­lion for Pan­dion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, a biotech hop­ing to gin up reg­u­la­to­ry T cells (Tregs) to treat a range of au­toim­mune dis­or­ders, the drug­mak­er said Thurs­day.

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