Germany’s Merck KGgA said on Monday it has agreed to pay Swiss biotech Debiopharm up to 900 million euros ($1.08 billion) to develop and commercialise Xevinapant for head and neck cancer.

Under the terms of the licensing deal, Merck will pay Debiopharm 188 million euros upfront and has agreed to further regulatory and commercial milestones worth up to 710 million euros, as well as royalties.

Results of a mid-stage study found Xevinapant together with chemoradiotherapy cut the risk of death by 51% compared to the current standard of care, Merck said.

Read more at: Reuters

By Caroline Copley and Riham Alkousaa

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