Vintafolide is the name of the drug and it comes along with a companion imagediagnostic test to determine if patients would benefit so we get a taste of personalized medicine along with the drug development.  Merck like other pharmaceutical companies is looking for additional revenue as some of their best sellers come off patent. 

Vintafolide is a chemotherapy derivative and targets cancer cells that over express folic acid receptors.  Ovarian cancer as well as small cell lung cancers are the study groups and intended use.  The drug has orphan status in Europe presently. 

Johnson and Johnson as we know has had a shortage of Doxil which is part of the process with this drug’s development and has added on to the trials times.  BD 

Merck & Co. (MRK) agreed to pay $120 million upfront--and an additional $880 million if certain milestones are met--to Endocyte Inc. (ECYT) for rights to develop and commercialize

Endocyte's experimental cancer drug vintafolide.

The deal's potential $1 billion value underscores rising interest among big drug makers in so-called personalized medicine, which includes drugs that target diseases with certain genetic or biological traits. Vintafolide is being developed with a companion diagnostic test that would help determine which patients could benefit from treatment.

Vintafolide, also known as EC145, is being evaluated in a late-stage clinical trial for ovarian cancer and a mid-stage study for non-small-cell lung cancer. The companies said the deal contemplates vintafolide's use in six cancer indications.

Vintafolide combines a compound known as a folate, or vitamin B9, with a form of chemotherapy. It is designed to target fast-growing cancer cells that actively take up the folate via a folate receptor. The companies said a wide variety of cancers express this folate receptor, including ovarian, lung, breast, colon and kidney.


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