June 29, 2016
Merck and Moderna Therapeutics have announced a strategic collaboration and license agreement for developing and commercializing personalized cancer vaccines based on novel messenger RNA (mRNA). This collaboration will combine the established leadership of Merck in immuno-oncology with the pioneering mRNA vaccine technology and GMP manufacturing capabilities of Moderna for advancing individually tailored cancer vaccines for patients across a spectrum of cancers.
“Combining immunotherapy with vaccine technology may be a new path toward improving outcomes for patients. While the area of personalized cancer vaccine research has faced challenges in the past, there have been many recent advances, and we believe that working with Moderna to combine an immuno-oncology approach, using KEYTRUDA, with mRNA-based personalized cancer vaccines may have the potential to transform the treatment of cancer,” said Dr. Roger Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories.
Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna, said: “Our team has made significant progress since beginning our work in personalized cancer vaccines just last year. Through this collaboration with Merck, we are now well-positioned to accelerate research and development with a goal of entering the clinic in 2017, as well as to apply our unique GMP manufacturing capabilities to support the rapid production of these highly individualized vaccines. We value our continued collaboration with Merck, and we look forward to working together to harness the potential of personalized cancer vaccines and immuno-oncology to bring a new treatment paradigm to patients.”