Cancer Vaccine Company Snapped Up by Merck

Merck to pay approximately $300 million for Immune Design.

With its proprietary technologies GLAAS® and ZVex®, late-stage immunotherapy company Immune Design has attracted the attention of Merck. The company relies on technologies that are designed to activate the immune system's natural ability to generate and/or expand antigen-specific cytotoxic immune cells to fight cancer and other chronic diseases. The firm is using immunization and adjuvant systems to enhance the ability of a vaccine to protect against infection, which could meaningfully improve vaccine development, according to Merck Research Laboratories President Roger M. Perlmutter. 

Merck announced that it plans to acquire Immune Design for $5.85 per share in cash, which works out to total approximately $300 million. As part of the agreement, which should be completed in Q2 2019, a subsidiary of Merck will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Immune Design, the closing of which will be subject to several conditions, including the tender of shares representing at least a majority of the total number of Immune Design’s outstanding shares, the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions.

Once the tender offer has been successfully completed, Merck will acquire any remaining shares not acquired in the tender through a second-step merger. Financial advisers for the transaction for Merck and Immune Design were Credit Suisse and Lazard, respectively.


David Alvaro, Ph.D.

David is Scientific Editorial Director for That’s Nice and the Pharma’s Almanac content enterprise, responsible for directing and generating industry, scientific and research-based content, including client-owned strategic content. Before joining That’s Nice, David served as a scientific editor for the multidisciplinary scientific journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. He received a B.A. in Biology from New York University and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Development from Columbia University.