Prexton Therapeutics, the first company to emerge from the €30 million ($34 million) biotech-creation program Merck Serono set up amid the shuttering of its Geneva R&D center, has closed a Series A round.
Merck Serono is teaming up with London's Institute of Cancer Research and the charitable Wellcome Trust to identify and develop new inhibitors to treat cancer.
Looking to share some of the spotlight focused on the immuno-oncology arena, Merck Serono says it has launched a mid-stage study of MSB0010718C, an anti-PD-L1 antibody.
Merck KGaA last year closed manufacturing facilities as part of a major restructuring to cut costs. This year it is planning to build them to serve areas that it has decided have the greatest potential as well as expected growth in emerging markets.
Merck KGaA is still crawling through a broad restructuring effort, but the German drugmaker said it's keeping an eye out for major deals that could help it piece together a promising pipeline after years of setbacks.
Once again, Merck KGaA reported a quicker-than-expected payoff from its big cost-cutting program. The German drugmaker hiked its profit forecast for the year, saying the changes it has made are delivering cost savings sooner than it had planned.
The redesigned buildings on Merck KGaA's campus feature the sort of flexible work stations and open-office arrangements recently adopted by GlaxoSmithKline in Philadelphia and Biogen Idec in Cambridge, MA.
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Merck KGaA R&D subsidiary Merck Serono will provide $35 million over four years to fund a dedicated unit that will apply the Belgian biotech's "Nanobody" approach to all of Merck's core disease areas, including oncology, immuno-oncology, immunology and neurology. The unit will work on new programs through in vivo proof of principle.
Merck KGaA is rejigging its pharmaceuticals management, promoting pharma chief Stefan Oschmann to a new job overseeing prescription and consumer drugs, biosimilars and allergy fighters, previously segregated under separate management.