Merck acquires Israel’s cCAM Biotherapeutics for $605M to fight cancer
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Photo Credit: cCam Biotherapeutics

The Israel-based company helps your immune system target cancer cells, scoring an impressively large exit within just five years of operation

Can your immune system fight cancer? An impressive achievement was marked on Tuesday for privately owned Israeli pharmaceutical firm cCAM Biotherapeutics which develops innovative therapies to treat cancer. The company signed an agreement to be acquired by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck for an upfront payment of $95 million in cash.  In addition, cCAM shareholders of record are eligible to receive a total of up to $510 million associated with the attainment of certain clinical development, regulatory, and commercial milestones.

The acquisition allows Merck to augment its offering of vaccinations and therapies, including CM-24 – a novel monoclonal antibody (mAb) targeting the immune checkpoint protein CEACAM1. CM-24 is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1 study for the treatment of advanced or recurrent malignancies, including melanoma, non-small-cell lung, bladder, gastric, colorectal, and ovarian cancers.

Based on the transaction, cCAM Biotherapeutics, domiciled in Israel, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck and continue to advance the development of CM-24 in its ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial. cCam was originally established under the Israeli Office of Chief Scientist’s incubator program.

“We continue to strengthen our portfolio of immunotherapeutic candidates through strategic collaborations and acquisitions,” said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, President of Merck Research Laboratories. “The acquisition of cCAM supports our objective to advance the care of patients with cancer by stimulating tumor-directed immune responses.”

“Merck’s excellence and leadership in immuno-oncology provides a strong foundation for advancing CM-24, for the treatment of people with cancer,” said Pini Orbach, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, cCAM Biotherapeutics and Head of Pharma at Arkin Holdings. “This is a significant achievement for cCAM Biotherapeutics, as well as a vote of confidence in the Israeli innovative biotech industry as a whole.”

What makes this particularly impressive

Beyond the fact that this is an enormous acquisition, one of the largest of in the last several years, cCAM is only 5 years old. Since most medical tech companies require around a decade to prove their worth through the clinical trial process, this makes it a very young medical tech company to get acquired. It goes to show how much companies and investors are willing to invest in cancer treatments.

Laura Rosbrow contributed reporting. 

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Simona Weinglass

About Simona Weinglass


I'm an old-school journalist who recently decided to pivot into high-tech. I work in high-tech marketing as well as print and broadcast media covering politics, business culture and everything in between.

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