Boehringer Ingelheim has signed an agreement to acquire all the shares of Germany-based biotech company Labor Dr Merk & Kollegen to strengthen its cancer immunology programme.

This deal will enable Boehringer to further develop ATMP-based immuno-oncology therapies such as the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) with modified glycoprotein (GP) platform and cancer vaccines platforms.

Since 2015, Labor Dr Merk & Kollegen has been working in partnership with Boehringer on viral-based therapy development.

Boehringer Ingelheim Board of Managing Directors member Dr Michel Pairet said: “The acquisition of Labor Dr Merk & Kollegen is strengthening our promising pipeline with diverse potential first-in-class cancer immunology and cancer cell-directed therapies for patients with hard-to-treat cancer.

“The trusting and highly effective collaboration between our scientists and the Labor Dr Merk & Kollegen team has already contributed significantly to our progress in viral-based cancer therapies.”

With this acquisition, Labor Dr Merk & Kollegen will be combined with all employees as a new unit into Boehringer’s Development organisation. It will continue to operate at its site located in Ochsenhausen.

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With the addition of the site, Boehringer will be able to bolster its oncolytic virus and cancer vaccine development capabilities by setting up a centre of excellence for virus development and clinical manufacturing.

In addition, the company will further develop assets from previous acquisitions and collaborations at the site.

Labor Dr Merk & Kollegen CEO Dr Ingrid Rapp said: “Following our successful strategic partnership, we are really excited to join forces with Boehringer Ingelheim.

“Boehringer Ingelheim is a truly global pharmaceutical company with excellent R&D capacities. We look forward to taking our next development step in oncology as part of this outstanding team.”

The companies have not disclosed the financial terms of the deal.

In October, Boehringer announced the expansion of its partnership with UK-based Oxford BioTherapeutics (OBT) to discover novel selective targets for strategic cancer indications to deliver treatments to patients.