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Merck acquires experimental MS drug

The worldwide exclusive rights to PI-2301, an experimental multiple sclerosis drug, have been acquired by Merck

The worldwide exclusive development and commercialisation rights to PI-2301, an experimental drug for multiple sclerosis (MS), have been acquired by Merck (known as EMD Chemicals in the US and Canada).

PI-2301 was originally developed by Peptimmune Inc, and is a second-generation peptide copolymer, which is thought to enhance the regulatory response of the immune system. The drug is now ready to enter phase II clinical trials for the treatment of MS and possibly other autoimmune diseases.

MS is an inflammatory condition of the central nervous system. In young adults, it is the  most common, non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease, and it is estimated that around two million people have MS worldwide. The most common symptoms include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination, however these symptoms can vary.

Susan Herbert, head of Global Portfolio Development at Merck commented: "We are pleased to strengthen our development pipeline with the PI-2301 compound, which could play a valuable role in the treatment of this debilitating disease."

20th September 2011

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