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KRAS craze sees Merck put $2.5B biobucks down for Taiho, Astex licensing deal

January 06, 2020 / FierceBiotech

KRAS and its hope against cancer was one of the biggest talking points in 2019, and it seems this hype is not dying down in 2020. This morning, Merck & Co. said it was willing to put as much as $2.5 billion on the table (though very heavily backloaded) to gain access to small-molecule inhibitors against several drug targets, including the KRAS oncogene, from Taiho and Astex. While a major biobucks number, the upfront is decidedly smaller: just $50 million between the two biotechs, but not surprising given that the deal focuses on currently preclinical assets.