Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that it has entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Teijin Pharma for the development, manufacture and commercialization of an investigational preclinical antibody candidate targeting the protein tau. Changes in tau are associated with a number of diseases affecting the nervous system, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
“Securing alliances with leading industry partners is a key part of The Teijin Group strategy,” said Mr. Akihisa Nabeshima, president, Teijin Pharma. “Teijin Pharma believes that Merck’s strong neuroscience expertise makes it well suited to maximize the potential of this candidate.”
Under terms of the agreement Merck will have exclusive world-wide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize the anti-tau antibody. In exchange, Merck will make an upfront payment to Teijin Pharma who is also eligible to receive development, regulatory and sales milestone payments. In addition, Teijin Pharma will receive royalties on product sales and retains an option to co-promote an approved product in Japan.
“Teijin Pharma scientists have made important progress to advance this investigational anti-tau antibody to this stage of development,” said Darryle Schoepp, vice president, neuroscience discovery, Merck Research Laboratories. “Merck remains committed to developing meaningful therapeutic options for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.”
The addition of this antibody targeting tau will complement Merck’s portfolio of candidates being investigated for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. This includes [18F]-MK-6240, a tau ligand currently being evaluated as a potential Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging agent for quantifying the brain burden of neurofibrillary tangle pathology in people with AD. Merck is evaluating verubecestat (MK-8931) an investigational small molecule inhibitor of the beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1), in a Phase 3 study of people with prodromal AD (APECS).
Filed Under: Drug Discovery