Merck & Co. Expands ADC Pipeline with Acquisition of Abceutics

Merck & Co. continues to bolster its antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) pipeline with the acquisition of Abceutics, a University at Buffalo startup, in a deal worth up to $208 million. The biotech, founded in 2020 by University at Buffalo researcher Joseph Balthasar, Ph.D., focuses on engineered payload-binding selectivity enhancers (PBSEs) designed to minimize the impact of ADC therapies on healthy cells. Merck’s move underscores its commitment to refining ADC technologies, following its multi-billion dollar deal with Daiichi Sankyo in 2023, marking its return to the ADC space with a $4 billion investment.

Abceutics' CEO, Brandon Bordeau, Ph.D., expressed confidence in Merck's ability to advance PBSE technology to benefit patients, while Merck's vice president of oncology discovery, David Weinstock, M.D., Ph.D., commended Abceutics' progress and expressed eagerness to evaluate the innovative approach further in clinical settings. Merck's recent acquisitions and internal ADC programs reflect its strategy to strengthen its position in the oncology market, aligning with its goal of developing novel therapies to address unmet medical needs.

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