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Merus Reveals New Data From Zeno Program in NRG1 Fusion Cancers

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  • Eli Lilly & Co’s (NYSE: LLY) R&D partner Merus N.V. (NASDAQ: MRUS) have revealed some new data at ASCO21 for an in-house program, zenocutuzumab (Zeno), in patients with NRG1+ cancers.

  • As of April 13 cutoff date, Zeno induced partial responses in 13 of 45 patients, with an overall response rate of 29%.

  • Merus is evaluating the candidate in a single-arm Phase 1/2 study with 61 enrolled patients.

  • Notably, 12 of the evaluable patients came into the trial with NRG1 positive pancreatic cancer, with five seeing confirmed partial responses.

  • Merus also looked at patients with NRG1 positive non-small cell lung cancer, observing that six of 24 such patients achieved partial responses by the cutoff.

  • The biotech noted that a seventh patient here reached partial response after the cutoff date as well.

  • Nine other patients with other undisclosed NRG1 positive cancers reached the evaluable stage by April 13, with two hitting a partial response.

  • In January, Lilly paid $40 million in upfront cash and $20 million in an equity stake to co-develop three bispecific antibodies looking to engage the CD3 antigen on T cells.

  • Each program could net up to $540 million in development and sales, bringing the deal’s total value north of $1.6 billion.

  • Price Action: MRUS shares are up 6.35% at $21.27 during the market session on the last check Friday.

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