Abide Therapeutics has announced that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Merck to discover, develop and commercialize small-molecule therapies directed against three novel targets to treat metabolic diseases with a focus on type 2 diabetes. Under the terms of the agreement, Abide Therapeutics is eligible to receive an upfront payment, research funding, and potential milestone payments for up to $430 million for three products. Further details of the financial terms were not disclosed. Merck will have worldwide commercialization rights to any products that may be developed as a result of the collaboration. Abide Therapeutics is entitled to receive royalty payments on global sales from any such products.
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Zymeworks has announced the successful achievement of a second research milestone in its collaboration with Merck related to Zymeworks’ Azymetric platform for the development of novel bi-specific antibody therapeutic candidates. In conjunction with the terms of the collaboration agreement, Zymeworks is to receive an undisclosed milestone payment from Merck. Under the terms of the agreement signed in 2011, Zymeworks granted Merck, through a subsidiary, a worldwide license to develop and commercialize bi-specific antibodies generated through use of the Azymetric platform toward certain exclusive therapeutic targets. Both companies will collaborate to advance the technology platform, with Merck working to progress the bi-specific therapeutic antibody candidates through clinical development. Zymeworks received an upfront fee and is eligible to receive research, development and regulatory milestones with a potential value of up to US $187 million, as well as tiered royalty payments on sales of products. Merck will have exclusive worldwide commercialization rights to products derived from the collaboration.
Cerecor has announced that it has acquired exclusive, worldwide rights to develop, register and commercialize agents that inhibit catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors, previously discovered and owned by Merck. Under the terms of the agreement, Cerecor will evaluate more than 2,000 molecules and select lead candidates for clinical development. According to the companies consideration includes milestone payments and royalties ‘consistent with other preclinical licenses in neuroscience’. Cerecor anticipates completing the technology transfer activities in 2013. Further terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.
Ligand has announced that it will receive a $2 million milestone payment from Merck under the terms of their development and license collaboration for the development of dinaciclib. This milestone payment is triggered by the initiation of a Phase 2b/3 adaptive clinical trial for dinaciclib for the treatment of patients with refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Theravance has announced that it has signed a collaboration agreement with Merck & Co to discover, develop and commercialize novel small molecule therapeutics directed towards a target being investigated for the treatment of hypertension and heart failure. In exchange for granting Merck a worldwide, exclusive license to its therapeutic candidates, Theravance will receive a $5 million upfront payment, funding for research, and be eligible for milestone payments totaling up to $148 million for the first indication and royalties on worldwide net sales of any products derived from the collaboration.
Merck & Co and AiCuris have announced that they have entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for AiCuris’ portfolio of investigational medicines targeting Human Cytomegalovirus, including letermovir (AIC246), an oral, late-stage antiviral candidate being investigated for the treatment and prevention of HCMV infection in transplant recipients. Under the agreement, Merck will gain worldwide rights to develop and commercialize candidates in AiCuris’ HCMV portfolio. AiCuris will receive a €110 million upfront payment and is eligible for milestone payments of up to €332.5 million based on successful achievement of development, regulatory and commercialization goals for HCMV candidates, including letermovir, an additional back-up candidate as well as other Phase I candidates designed to act via an alternate mechanism. AiCuris will be also receive royalty payments reflecting the advanced stage of the clinical program on any potential products that result from the agreement. Merck will be responsible for all development activities and costs. AiCuris was founded in 2006 as a spin-off from Bayer Healthcare.
Ablynx has announced a collaboration with Merck & Co to develop and commercialise nanobody candidates directed towards a voltage gated ion channel with the option to develop and commercialise a Nanobody to a second target. Under the terms of the agreement, Merck gains exclusive global rights to nanobodies against the selected target, with an option for similar rights to a second target. Merck will pay Ablynx a €6.5 million upfront payment and a €2 million fee for research funding. Ablynx will also be eligible to receive up to €448 million in research, regulatory and commercial milestone payments associated with the progress of candidates as well as tiered royalties on any products derived from the collaboration. Under the terms of the deal Ablynx will be responsible for the discovery of nanobody candidates and Merck will be responsible for the research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any Nanobody product resulting from the collaboration.
Cardiome and Merck have announced that Merck will return the global marketing and development rights for both the intravenous and oral formulations for vernakalant to Cardiome. Vernakalant IV was approved in the European Union in September 2010 for the rapid conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation to sinus rhythm in adults, for non-surgery patients with AF of seven days or less and for post-cardiac surgery patients with AF of three days or less. Vernakalant IV is not approved for use in the United States or Canada. In July 2012 Cardiome announced that it was reducing its workforce by 85% as a response to the recently announced termination of Merck’s development efforts relating to the vernakalant oral program.
Zymeworks has announced the successful achievement of a research milestone in its collaboration with Merck related to Zymeworks’ Azymetric platform for the development of novel bi-specific antibody therapeutic candidates. As a result Zymeworks is to receive an undisclosed milestone payment from Merck. Under the terms of the original agreement between the parties Zymeworks granted Merck a worldwide license to develop and commercialize bi-specific antibodies generated through use of the Azymetric platform toward certain exclusive therapeutic targets. Both companies will collaborate to advance the technology platform, with Merck working to progress the bi-specific therapeutic antibody candidates through clinical development. Zymeworks received an upfront fee and is eligible to receive research, development and regulatory milestones with a potential value of up to $187 million as well as tiered royalty payments on sales of products. Merck will have exclusive worldwide commercialization rights to products derived from the collaboration. Separately, Zymeworks announced the completion of a common share offering totaling $11 million. The financing was led by the Advanced Biotechnologies Venture Fun group of funds, and included investments by both new and existing private shareholders. Further financial terms are not disclosed. Zymeworks will use the proceeds to advance its lead oncology candidates through late stage preclinical studies and into the clinic.
InSite Vision has announced that Merck & Co, through its subsidiary Inspire Pharmaceuticals, has agreed to amend the payment terms of the existing AzaSite (azithromycin ophthalmic solution) 1% license agreement. Merck will now pay InSite the higher of the pro-rata annual minimum royalty or the earned royalty for 2012 and 2013. In August 2012, Merck will also pay InSite a catch-up payment for the difference between the earned royalty already paid for the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first and second quarters of 2012, and the pro-rata annual minimum royalties for those quarters. Under the terms of the AzaSite license agreement, the minimum royalties due to InSite in 2012 will total $17 million.