Robert Davis, Merck CEO

Un­der-the-radar Chi­nese biotech scores $47M up­front in se­cre­tive Mer­ck deal around can­cer drug

Dur­ing his most re­cent in­vestor call, Mer­ck CEO Rob Davis promised to be “ap­pro­pri­ate­ly ag­gres­sive in pur­su­ing com­pelling ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion.” But as it turns out, that doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean they would be loud about it.

Chi­na’s Kelun Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal said the phar­ma gi­ant has li­censed a cer­tain “large mol­e­cule” can­cer drug can­di­date from its biotech sub­sidiary Sichuan Kelun-Biotech. Cov­er­ing all ter­ri­to­ries out­side main­land Chi­na, Tai­wan, Hong Kong and Macau, the deal starts at $47 mil­lion up­front but mile­stones can add up to $1.3 bil­lion.

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