A Merck subsidiary will acquire Peloton Therapeutics Inc., a privately held clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that is testing an oral hypoxia-inducible factor-2alpha treatment for renal cell carcinoma, according to a press release.
Peloton’s focus is on the development of small molecule therapeutic candidates targeting oral hypoxia-inducible factor-2alpha (HIF-2alpha), a protein that plays a key role in tumor cell growth. The company will receive $1.05 billion upfront and up to $1.15 billion in milestone payments from Merck based on the progress of PT2977, the company’s lead drug therapy now in phase 2 trials.
Merck officials said in the release that the transaction should close in the third quarter.
“This acquisition exemplifies Merck’s strategy to pursue novel therapeutic candidates based on exceptionally promising and innovative research,” Roger M. Perlmutter, MD, president of Merck Research Laboratories, said in the release. “Peloton scientists have applied their unique expertise in HIF-2[alpha] biology to develop PT2977, which has already shown intriguing activity in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. We look forward to advancing this late-stage asset as part of our broad oncology R&D program.”