Ariad Opts to Sell Cancer Drug with Merck

Xconomy Boston — 

Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA), a Cambridge, MA-based developer of cancer drugs against specific biological targets, said today that it has taken its option to co-promote its experimental drug ridaforolimus with its partner Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) for treating soft tissue and bone sarcomas. As part of Ariad’s license deal with Merck in May 2010, it has the option to be responsible for up to 20 percent of the sales effort for the treatment in all uses in the U.S. “The decision to co-promote ridaforolimus upon potential launch in 2012 is consistent with our plans to build a fully integrated commercial oncology company and dovetails with the potential launch of ponatinib, our investigational pan-BCR-ABL inhibitor, in patients with resistant or intolerant chronic myeloid leukemia in late 2012 or early 2013,” said Harvey Berger, chairman and chief executive of Ariad, in a company press release.