Press Release

VelosBio Agrees to Sell to Merck for $2.75 Billion

November 9, 2020

San Diego – November 9, 2020 – Cooley advised VelosBio, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, on its agreement to sell to Merck, through a subsidiary, for $2.75 billion. Cooley lawyers Barbara Borden, Ken Rollins and Rowook Park led the team advising VelosBio on the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the year.

The acquisition will strengthen Merck’s oncology pipeline with VelosBio’s lead investigational candidate VLS-101, an antibody-drug conjugate targeting receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1). VLS-101 is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, respectively.

“Merck is a recognized leader in oncology, and this acquisition reflects the hard work and commitment of all the employees at VelosBio in advancing the science of ROR1,” Dave Johnson, founder and CEO of VelosBio, said in a news release. “We are very pleased that Merck has recognized the value of our first-in-class ROR1-directed investigational therapeutics. As part of Merck’s oncology pipeline, our lead product candidate, VLS-101, is now well positioned to achieve its maximum potential to benefit appropriate cancer patients in need.”

Based in San Diego, VelosBio is committed to transforming the lives of patients with cancer by developing first-in-class therapies targeting ROR1. Merck has been bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases for more than 125 years.

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