By Turna Ray

A new collaboration between Merck and Endocyte to advance the latter's investigational cancer drug vintafolide with a companion diagnostic agent for identifying folate-expressing tumors will initially focus on ovarian and non-small cell lung cancer indications.

The deal, which gives Merck worldwide commercialization rights to vintafolide, could extend the drug's indications to as many as six other cancers, potentially netting Endocyte nearly $900 million in milestone payments.

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