Eisai Co. and U.S.-based Merck & Co. said Thursday they have agreed to jointly develop cancer drugs for global sales, with the Japanese pharmaceutical firm potentially receiving up to $5.76 billion if it proves a success.
The firms said they will initiate new clinical studies to make Lenvima, Eisai’s thyroid drug, applicable to multiple types of the disease, including endometrial cancer, in combination with Keytruda, a drug developed by Merck.
Under the strategic agreement, the Tokyo-based firm will receive $750 million from the U.S. company as an upfront payment and research and development expenses.
Eisai also may be able to earn up to $5.01 billion from Merck for development achievements and sales milestones, according to the joint statement.
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