OPKO Health's Cancer & Infectious Disease Focused Subsidiary Inks Vaccine Development Pact With Merck

  • ModeX Therapeutics Inc, a unit of OPKO Health Inc OPK, entered into an exclusive worldwide license and collaboration agreement with Merck & Co Inc MRK to develop MDX-2201, ModeX's preclinical nanoparticle vaccine candidate targeting Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
  • EBV is the leading cause of infectious mononucleosis and is also associated with some specific types of cancer.
  • "Targeting four proteins used by EBV to infect cells, this vaccine candidate embodies the novel multitargeting approach developed by ModeX scientists," said Gary Nabel, President & CEO of ModeX and Chief Innovation Officer of OPKO.
  • OPKO will receive an upfront payment of $50 million and is eligible for milestone payments associated with progress in the development and commercialization of MDX-2201 of up to $872.5 million and royalties on global sales.
  • ModeX and Merck will jointly advance MDX-2201 to an Investigational New Drug (IND) application filing, after which Merck will be responsible for clinical and regulatory activities and product commercialization. 
  • Pre-IND filing activity will be guided by a joint steering committee comprised of representatives from both companies.
  • "We founded ModeX to develop innovative multispecific biologics for cancer and infectious diseases that target multifactorial pathways that cause illness," said Elias Zerhouni, M.D., President and Vice Chairman of OPKO. 
  • Price Action: OPK shares are up 17.92% at $1.25 on the last check Wednesday.
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