Merck acquires Pandion Therapeutics in $1.85bn

Merck is acquiring Massachusetts-based biotech Pandion Therapeutics in a $1.85 billion deal that provides the former with a pipeline of candidates targeting a broad range of autoimmune diseases.

Pandion is advancing a pipeline of precision immune modulators targeting critical immune control nodes. The company’s lead candidate – PT101 – is an engineered IL-2 mutein fused to a protein backbone designed to selectively activate and expand regulatory T cells (Tregs) for the potential treatment of ulcerative colitis and other autoimmune diseases.

Earlier this year, Pandion announced that PT101 had completed a Phase 1a clinical trial, which achieved its primary objective of safety and tolerability. The company’s pipeline also includes PD-1 agonists in development for numerous autoimmune diseases.

Merck, through a subsidiary, will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Pandion.

The closing of the tender offer, including the tender of shares representing at least a majority of the total number of Pandion’s shares of fully-diluted common stock, the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions.

Upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Merck’s acquisition subsidiary will be merged into Pandion, and any remaining shares of common stock of Pandion will be cancelled and converted into the right to receive the same $60 per share price payable in the tender offer.

The transaction, which will be subject to certain conditions, is expected to close in the first half of 2021.

Dr Dean Y. Li, president, Merck Research Laboratories, said: “Pandion has applied its TALON technology to develop a robust pipeline of candidates designed to re-balance the immune response with potential applications across a wide array of autoimmune diseases.”

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