Merck to buy VelosBio for $2.75 billion to bolster oncology pipeline

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Shares of Merck & Co. Inc. rose 1.0% in premarket trading Thursday, after the drug maker announced a deal to buy privately held biopharmaceutical company VelosBio Inc. for $2.75 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2020. In October, VelosBio had initiated a Phase 2 trial of VLS-101 for the treatment of patients with solid tumors. “At Merck, we continue to bolster our growing oncology pipeline with strategic acquisitions that both complement our current portfolio and strengthen our long-term growth potential,” said Dr. Roger Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “Pioneering work by VelosBio scientists has yielded VLS-101, which in early studies has provided notable evidence of activity in heavily pretreated patients with refractory hematological malignancies, including mantel cell lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.” Merck’s stock has dropped 11.4% year to date through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has slipped 2.4%.
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