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Merck acquires full control of ridaforolimus

Merck has restructured its agreement with ARIAD, acquiring full control of the development and commercialisation of ridaforolimus

Merck has restructured its agreement with ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, making it into an exclusive license agreement. This gives Merck full control of the development and global commercialisation of ridaforolimus - an investigational orally available mTOR inhibitor currently being evaluated for the treatment of multiple cancer types.

The deal involved an upfront payment to ARIAD of $50m, with agreed further milestone payments subject to regulatory filings and approvals of ridaforolimus in multiple cancer indications and the achievement of significant sales thresholds.

ARIAD will receive royalties on global net sales of ridaforolimus in lieu of a previously agreed profit split on US sales.

Merck will take over responsibility for all activities and has acquired decision rights on matters relating to the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of ridaforolimus.

The Investigational New Drug (IND) application will be transferred to Merck, who will file the marketing application worldwide for any oncology indications and lead all interactions with regulatory agencies.

"This amended agreement positions Merck and ARIAD to maximise the therapeutic potential of ridaforolimus by evaluating its properties in multiple cancer types and furthers Merck's commitment to oncology research and advancing the health of people suffering from cancer," said Muna Bhanji, senior vice president and general manager, Oncology franchise at Merck.


Merck wins second Fosamax trial

In a separate statement, Merck announced that a New York federal jury has unanimously ruled in the company's favour, rejecting claims from a plaintiff that Fosamax (alendrionate) had caused dental and jaw-related problems.

This is the second case involving dental and jaw-related problems alleged to be caused by Fosamax to go to trial. In September 2009, a US district court judge declared a mistrial in the first Fosamax case after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict. This case is to be retried in June 2010.

According to Merck, as of December 31, 2009, around 978 cases, which include approximately 1,356 plaintiff groups, had been filed and were pending against Merck in either federal or state court.

6th May 2010

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