GC Labcell, Artiva to co-develop cancer treatment with Merck
Korea’s GC Labcell and its U.S. affiliate Artiva Biotherapeutics signed a deal potentially worth $1.87 billion with multinational bio firm Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) to co-develop three cell treatments for cancer.
The contract regards Artiva’s platform technology to develop CAR-NK cell therapies, short for chimeric antigen receptor-natural killers, a type of cancer immunotherapy. Using it, MSD and Artiva may develop cell treatments targeting up to three types of cancer, two of which are already under development.
The deal is potentially worth $1.87 billion, including milestone payments. Artiva will receive a $30 million upfront payment for the first two programs and an additional $15 million if MSD exercises its option to develop a third. Artiva is also eligible to receive milestones of up to $612 per program.
GC Labcell will also receive up to $982 million, including an upfront payment of $15 million and a potential $967 million in milestones, the Korean firm said in a regulatory filing, Friday.
In return, MSD will take away exclusive distribution rights for the three treatments globally. The multinational firm will also provide research funding to Artiva for the three programs.
Artiva Biotherapeutics was established in 2019 with funds jointly raised by GC Labcell and parent company GC Holdings. Artiva’s main technology in NK cells had been developed by GC Labcell. Artiva raised $78 million in Series A investment in June 2020. Currently, the two Korean firms remain the largest stakeholders: GC Holdings with 19.7 percent and GC Labcell with 10.2 percent in the U.S. affiliate.
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [firstname.lastname@example.org]