Top Biopharma Deal March 2021: Debiopharm – Merck KGaA for Xevinapant for head and neck cancer

Apr 12, 2021 | Deal of the Month, Partnership Deals

March 2021 Top Biopharma Deal Upfront
Debiopharm development and commercialization deal with Merck KGaA for Xevinapant

Highlighted Deal Financial Comps

Date Announced:

Mar. 1, 2021

Total Deal Value:


Upfront Cash:

$227M (EUR 188M)

Upfront Equity:


Option Payments:


Total Milestones:

$856M (EUR 710M), reg. & sales



Cost & Profit Split:


Deal Synopsis

The Asset:

Phase III Xevinapant (Debio 1143) oral Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins (IAP) antagonist for the treatment of advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Deal Structure:

Development and Commercial License

Partnership Features:

Shared costs for Phase III

Deal Details:

  • Debiopharm granted Merck exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Xevinapant for the treatment of advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
  • Both companies will co-fund the ongoing Phase III registrational TrilynX study.
  • Debiopharm will receive EUR 188M ($227M) up front and is eligible to receive up to EUR 710M ($856M) in regulatory and commercial milestones, plus royalties.

Last Month:

Congrats to Debiopharm and Merck KGaA for landing the DealForma March 2021 Top Biopharma Deal of the Month. The Deal of the Month for February 2021 was the Vir – GSK expansion in to influenza. Read about it here.

DealForma’s Deal of the Month selection is based on the largest disclosed upfront cash and equity total in partnership deals involving R&D as announced in the month prior to this article. Data for this analysis was compiled using the DealForma biopharma deals database. All data are based on publicly disclosed figures and deal terms.

We invite you to answer interesting questions on biopharma business development and licensing using our data and carefully curated profiles on deals, pipelines, companies, funding, and business executives by visiting to schedule your personalized demo.


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