Ipsen Completes Acquisition of ONIVYDE® (irinotecan liposome injection) and Additional Oncology Assets from Merrimack Pharmaceuticals


Ipsen announced today that it has completed its acquisition of global oncology assets from Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, in Cambridge, MA., focusing on ONIVYDE® (irinotecan liposome injection) for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas after disease progression following gemcitabine-based therapy, in combination with fluorouracil and leucovorin.1,[1] Ipsen has gained exclusive commercialization rights for the current and potential future indications for ONIVYDE® in the U.S., as well as the current licensing agreements with Shire for commercialization rights ex-U.S. and PharmaEngine for Taiwan. The acquisition also includes the Merrimack commercial and manufacturing infrastructure for Onivyde®, and generic doxorubicin HCl liposome injection.

“The addition of ONIVYDE® to Ipsen’s Oncology portfolio is very important, first and foremost for patients with pancreatic cancer across the U.S., as there are limited approved therapies,” said Cynthia Schwalm, Executive Vice President and President, North American Commercial Operations, Ipsen. “Together with our experienced commercial and medical teams and the legacy we have gained through the acquisition of ONIVYDE®, we are confident in our ability to meet the growing needs of these patients.”  

Along with this acquisition, Ipsen will continue to advance the clinical development program for ONIVYDE®.   

Financial terms of the acquisition include an upfront cash payment of $575 million to Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, and up to $450 million upon the approval of potential additional indications for ONIVYDE® in the U.S.

About Pancreatic Cancer 

Pancreatic cancer is a rare and deadly disease with approximately 338,000[2] new patients diagnosed globally each year, approximately 50,000 of which are in the United States[3]. More than half are diagnosed with metastatic disease, which has an overall 5-year survival rate of less than three percent4, and often rapidly progresses during or shortly after receiving chemotherapy[4]. Pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, surpassing breast cancer.4 It is expected to become the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. by the year 2030, surpassing colorectal cancer.4,[5]


ONIVYDE® is an encapsulated formulation of irinotecan. This long-circulating liposomal form is designed to increase length of tumor exposure to both irinotecan and its active metabolite, SN-38. ONIVYDE® was approved by the U.S. FDA in combination with fluorouracil and leucovorin for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas after disease progression following gemcitabine-based therapy.  For full prescribing information, including Boxed WARNING, please visit www.ONIVYDE.com.

[1] ONIVYDE® Full Prescribing Information Oct 2015 (v0.1) p. 2.

[2] World Cancer Research Fund International. Cancer Facts and Figures. Pancreatic Cancer Statistics. Accessed on  March 27, 2017. http://www.wcrf.org/int/cancer-facts-figures/data-specific-cancers/pancreatic-cancer-statistics

[3] American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2017. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2017/cancer-facts-and-figures-2017.pdf

[4] Ammermann et al. Decision Resources. Disease Landscape and & Forecast: Pancreatic Cancer. June 2016.

[5]  Rahib et al AACR 2014

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