Merck KGaA bolsters oncology pipeline with Hengrui partnership

Germany’s Merck has exclusive rights outside of China for Hengrui’s PARP1 inhibitor HRS-1167 and ADC drug SHR-A1904.

Millie Nelson, Editor

October 31, 2023

2 Min Read
Merck KGaA bolsters oncology pipeline with Hengrui partnership

Germany’s Merck has exclusive rights outside of China for Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals’ PARP1 inhibitor HRS-1167 and antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) drug SHR-A1904.

Under the terms of the deal, Chinese drugmaker Hengrui will receive an upfront payment from Merck of €160 million ($169 million). Additionally, there is potential for Hengrui to receive further payments dependent on specific milestones and royalties, which could take the payments to a total of up to €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion).

The partnership sees Merck gain a worldwide exclusive license (ex-China) to advance, manufacture and commercialize Hengrui’s DNA damage response (DDR) inhibitor drug PARP1 (poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1) HRS-1167.



According to Merck, HRS-1167 has presented positive signs of clinical activity and patient advantages in Phase I trials as a monotherapy and has increased potential to combine with chemotherapy as well as various novel agents. The firm said the encouraging data aligns with Merck’s DDR inhibitors development approach through investigating their synergistic activity and expanding their potential effect in use with other anticancer therapies and approaches.

A spokesperson for Merck told BioProcess Insider the work has not yet begun but “the partnership is an ideal complement to our existing pipeline portfolio, one that has the potential to benefit patients with difficult-to-treat cancers. ”

Furthermore, the deal includes an option to exercise the same type of license for ADC SHR-A1904. The company said this would “complement” its internal preclinical and clinical ADC pipeline applying various linker payload technologies.

“Given the high unmet need in oncology, we are excited to work closely with Merck to bring Hengrui’s innovations to cancer patients worldwide,” said Frank Jiang, chief strategy officer of Hengrui.

“Partnering with Merck on our PARP franchise is an important milestone on Hengrui’s globalization journey. We look forward to advancing our molecules rapidly through development and reaching patients in need.”

The spokesperson could not disclose where this work will take place, however Merck has the open to co-promote both assets in China.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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