Finnish city Kuopio is growing centre for expertise in gene-based medicines

Merck & Co out-licences the development of a portfolio of gene therapy products to the Finnish company FKD Therapies Oy.

Under the terms of the agreement between Merck and FKD, the Finnish company has an exclusive licence to develop and commercialise a recombinant adenoviral interferon alfa 2b (rAd-IFN) for the treatment of superficial bladder cancer. The agreement also provides FKD with the option to develop two other investigational programmes, a recombinant adenoviral p21 (rAd-p21) to treat glaucoma surgery failure and conditionally replicating adenoviral technology (CRAV) for the treatment of solid tumours. In return Merck has taken an equity stake in FKD.

According to the American Society of Cancer, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the world affecting some 75,000 new patients each year in the United States alone and is the most expensive cancer to treat on a lifetime survival basis.

Source: FKD Therapies Oy, Kuopio Innovation