Danish biotech company Symphogen once again has its lead asset in its portfolio, experimental cancer drug Sym004, three years after it partnered with Merck on a $625 million deal for its development.
The two companies said recently that they have ended their collaboration, with Symphogen saying it hopes to now turn itself into a standalone clinical stage company, featuring the mid-stage drug.
“With more than €70 million ($79 million) in cash to execute its strategy, the rights to an advancing clinical program and several pipeline programs being readied for development, we can harvest the productivity of our research efforts and move the company forward with an eye toward commercial oncology opportunities,” Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Drejer said in a statement.
Both Merck and Symphogen stressed that the breakup in no way reflects Sym004’s safety or efficacy, particularly since the drug is now in Phase IIb trials, being tested on its efficacy in eliminating colorectal cancer tumors. It has also showed promised in stopping the advancement of squamous cell cancer.
Symphogen also noted that it would soon open a new clinical development unit in New Jersey, though it did not mention a date or the potential to create jobs. Company research and development chief Ivan Horak, will oversee the new American initiative.