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Merck to acquire Imago BioSciences in deal worth $1.35bn

The agreement includes lead candidate, bomedemstat, for myeloproliferative neoplasms


Merck & Co (Merck) – known as MSD outside the US and Canada – has announced it will acquire Imago BioSciences (Imago) in a deal worth $1.35bn.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Imago for $36 per share in cash.

Imago is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines for the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and other bone marrow diseases.

MPNs are a group of diseases of the bone marrow characterised by excessive production of red blood cells, platelets or certain white blood cells.

The number of extra cells build up in the blood and/or bone marrow over time in patients with MPNs, which may lead to bleeding problems, anaemia, infection, fatigue, thrombosis or other signs and symptoms. Additionally, certain MPNs may become acute myeloid leukaemia.

MPNs include chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML), polycythaemia vera (PV), primary myelofibrosis (MF), essential thrombocythaemia (ET), chronic neutrophilic leukaemia and chronic eosinophilic leukaemia.

The acquisition will grant Merck access to Imago’s lead candidate, bomedemstat (IMG-7289), an investigational orally available lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) inhibitor, currently being evaluated in multiple phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of ET, MF, and PV and other indications.

LSD1, also called KDM1A, is a member of a group of epigenetic proteins that regulate gene expression through chemical modifications of proteins, RNA and DNA.

Because of the role it plays in the function of malignant blood cells, targeting LSD1 for the treatment of blood cancers offers a new mechanism for the treatment of diseases associated with high morbidity and mortality, the companies explained in a statement.

“Evidence indicates that LSD1 plays an important role in the maturation of blood cells in the bone marrow,” said Dr Dean Li, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “We look forward to working with the Imago team to further investigate the potential of bomedemstat for patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms.”

Also commenting on the acquisition, Dr Hugh Rienhoff, founder and chief executive officer, Imago, said: “This milestone is a testament to more than a decade of pioneering research by Imago scientists and the entire Imago team’s unwavering dedication to improving the lives of patients.

“This agreement leverages Merck’s industry-leading clinical development expertise to maximise the therapeutic potential of bomedemstat while providing important value for shareholders.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

22nd November 2022

From: Research, Sales



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