Merck acquires Chord Therapeutics to expand neuroinflammatory pipeline

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

December 21, 2021 -- Merck has acquired Chord Therapeutics to expand its neurology pipeline and develop Chord's lead drug candidate, CRD1 (cladribine), for the treatment of generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). The acquisition also builds on Merck's existing neurology portfolio in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Chord is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that develops drugs for rare neuroinflammatory diseases. The company was launched in October 2020 with assistance from healthcare venture capital firm Omega Funds, the sole investor in Chord's $16 million series A financing round.

Cladribine has been extensively studied in MS and oncologic disorders and has shown promising results in exploratory studies in gMG and NMOSD, according to Merck. Merck said it plans to leverage its existing capabilities to further develop an oral cladribine product.

Lazard acted as the financial advisor, and Baker McKenzie acted as legal advisor to Chord on the transaction, which is expected to close in early 2022 after completion of customary closing conditions.

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