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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

AstraZeneca raises bet on cancer immunotherapy with Immunocore deal, (NYSE: MRK)

AstraZeneca has raised its bet on new treatments that harness the body's immune system to fight cancer by striking a drug development deal with private British biotech company Immunocore.Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche and Merck & Co lead the field with such immunotherapies, which analysts believe may extend patients' lives significantly and generate tens of billions of dollars in annual sales.But AstraZeneca, which has a long history in cancer medicine, believes its broad portfolio of experimental drugs, ranging from traditional pills to injectable biotech products, puts it in a strong position to develop combination therapies.Such drug "cocktails" are expected to be crucial as oncologists seek to block cancer on multiple fronts.

Merck & Co., Inc. (Merck) is a global health care company that delivers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. Shares of MRK traded higher by 0.74% or $0.37/share to $50.11. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $40.83 and as high as $50.42. On average, 12395900 shares of MRK exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 9998534.