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Merck And Endocyte Enter Exclusive Worldwide Agreement To Develop And Commercialize Phase III Cancer Candidate Vintafolide (EC145)

"Following a rigorous selection process we believe Merck represents the ideal strategic partner to achieve the full potential of vintafolide, accelerating our development in numerous cancers,” said Ron Ellis, Endocyte’s president and chief executive officer. "The agreement also positions us well to build our own commercial infrastructure for vintafolide in the U.S. and for etarfolatide worldwide."

Endocyte has completed three single arm studies of vintafolide in patients with advanced platinum resistant ovarian cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and solid tumors. In a randomized Phase II clinical trial (PRECEDENT) comparing vintafolide plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) versus PLD alone in women with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, vintafolide demonstrated a statistically significant delay in disease progression or death in the overall population, with the largest improvement observed in patients with all tumors imaged as positive for folate receptor expression utilizing etarfolatide. Vintafolide in combination showed limited additional toxicity versus standard therapy with PLD alone. Common adverse events observed with this combination were neutropenia, fatigue, mouth sores, and redness/swelling/pain on the hands and feet.

In March 2012, Endocyte announced that the European Union had granted orphan drug status to vintafolide, and that the company planned to file a marketing authorization application in the third quarter of 2012.

Closing of the transaction is contingent upon obtaining Hart-Scott Rodino clearance from the Federal Trade Commission.

Conference Call

Endocyte will host a conference call and webcast at 8:30am ET today to discuss the agreement. To listen to the conference call, please dial 877-845-0711 or 760-298-5081. A replay of the call will be available beginning at 11:30am ET today. To access the replay, please dial 855-859-2056 or 404-537-3406 and reference the conference ID 72307636. The webcast can be accessed through Endocyte's website at

About Vintafolide (EC145)

Vintafolide is a proprietary, injectable, conjugate consisting of folate (vitamin B9) linked to a potent vinca alkaloid chemotherapy agent, desacetylvinblastine monohydrazide (DAVLBH). Vintafolide is designed to preferentially target the chemotherapy agent to fast growing cancer cells that actively take up folate via the folate receptor. The folate receptor is expressed in a wide variety of cancers including ovarian, NSCLC, breast, colon and kidney.

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