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Merck to acquire Caraway Therapeutics for up to $610 million

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Merck (NYSE:MRK), a global pharmaceutical giant, has announced the finalization of its plans to acquire Caraway Therapeutics, a company specializing in treatments for genetically defined neurodegenerative diseases. The deal, which could be worth up to $610 million, includes additional milestone payments and further extends Merck’s footprint in the development of innovative small-molecule therapeutics.

Caraway Therapeutics has been lauded for its pioneering work in cellular recycling processes, particularly lysosomal modulation, which is critical for clearing toxic waste from cells and offers a novel approach to treating rare diseases. This acquisition will leverage Caraway’s cutting-edge research and Merck’s extensive research and development infrastructure to potentially bring new, impactful treatments to market.

The transaction was unanimously approved by Caraway’s board and is backed by its investors, including SV Health Investors’ Dementia Discovery (NASDAQ:WBD) Fund. Notable entities such as AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) Ventures and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) Ventures have also supported Caraway’s initiatives, reflecting confidence in their scientific approach.

George Addona from Merck’s discovery and preclinical development team highlighted the significance of Caraway’s focus on modulating lysosomal function, which represents a promising avenue for disease-modifying treatments. Merck’s commitment to this field is further underscored by its MRL Ventures Fund, which has invested in Caraway since 2018.

The acquisition encompasses all outstanding shares of Caraway and is structured around earnout milestones that are expected to follow drug development achievements. These contingent milestone payments are factored into Merck’s Q4 2023 non-GAAP expenses.

Martin D. Williams of Caraway expressed his team’s enthusiasm for joining forces with Merck, acknowledging the advanced opportunities that Merck’s robust R&D capabilities will offer. He praised his team for their dedication to creating treatments with the potential to significantly impact neurodegenerative diseases.

Merck maintains its reputation as a leader in pharmaceutical innovation, with over a century of history in advancing life-saving scientific research. The company places high value on diversity within its workforce and promotes sustainable practices within the communities it operates in.

The announcement comes with the caveat of forward-looking statements that are subject to various risks including competitive markets, economic fluctuations, COVID-19 implications, regulatory challenges, manufacturing obstacles, patent litigations, or unforeseen financial instabilities that may influence actual outcomes versus current projections.


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