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Merck KGaA, Telix Pharmaceuticals Partner to Study DNA Damage Inhibitor, Targeted Radiation Combo

NEW YORK – Merck KGaA and Telix Pharmaceuticals announced a clinical collaboration on Wednesday to conduct studies of Merck's investigational DNA damage response inhibitor in combination with Telix's molecularly targeted radiation therapies across cancer types.

Telix's molecularly targeted radiation therapies, TLX591 and TLX250, are being studied in prostate cancer and renal cancer, respectively. TLX250 targets a cell surface antigen called carbonic anhydrase IX, or CAIX, which is overexpressed in renal cancer cells, while TLX591 targets prostate-specific membrane antigen, or PSMA. The Melbourne, Australia-based company is studying the drugs in Phase II and Phase III trials.

These therapies will be studied in combination with an undisclosed DNA damage response inhibitor developed by Merck KGaA across a wide variety of oncology indications in the clinic. In late 2020, Merck KGaA separately partnered with Artios to discover and develop DNA damage response drug targets.

In 2019, Merck KGaA and Telix began a research partnership to develop molecularly targeted radiation therapies. The two companies are expanding that partnership to the clinic based on their preclinical studies of the combination therapy.

"Preclinical studies provide evidence that the combined effect of Merck’s DNA damage response inhibitor compound with Telix's molecularly targeted radiation candidates has potential to significantly impact cancer by improving efficacy and reducing the required radiation dose for tumor reduction and remission compared to [molecularly targeted radiation] only," Telix CEO Christian Behrenbruch said in a statement.