Please login to the form below

Not currently logged in
Email:
Password:

Merck & Co extends autoimmune collaboration with Lycera

New deal could be worth more than $300m to the US biopharma company

Merck & CoMerck & Co has extended its collaboration with Lycera to research new treatments for autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

In addition to an undisclosed upfront fee, Lycera is eligible to receive more than $300m in milestone payments to build on an existing partnership focused on the development of therapies that target the retinoic acid related orphan receptor (RORyt).

This latest financial agreement is on top of the original deal, which consisted of an upfront payment of $12m and up to $295m in milestones, meaning Lycera could stand to make more than $600m from its deals with Merck.

The RORyt receptor at the heart of the agreements is responsible for the differentiation of T-helper 17 (Th17) cells, which produce the cytokine interleukin-17 (IL-17) that in turn, can lead to the development of autoimmune disorders.

It is thought that inhibiting RORyt could disrupt this process, reducing the production of IL-17.

Lycera has identified several inhibitors of RORyt, which Merck will take into clinical development, although no specific conditions to be targeted were named by either company.

Under the terms of the deal, Merck will gain commercialisation rights to any products developed as a result of the collaboration, while Lycera is entitled to receive royalty payments and milestones.

Rupert Vessey, senior VP, global scientific strategy at Merck Research Laboratories, explained why the company chose to expand its partnership.

“There are substantial unmet medical needs and opportunities in autoimmune disorders, and new targets representing attractive opportunities that we are very pleased to pursue through our new collaboration with Lycera,” he said.

Dr Kathleen Metters, Lycera's president and chief executive officer, was similarly enthusiastic: “We are absolutely delighted to expand our relationship with Merck, a collaboration that builds on the culture of scientific excellence fostered by both companies.”

14th February 2013

From: Research

Share

Tags

Featured jobs

Subscribe to our email news alerts

PMHub

Add my company
eyeforpharma

eyeforpharma is a hub for senior-level pharma executives, patient advocacy groups and other health experts to exchange ideas and stay...

Latest intelligence

Mapping content strategies to pharma lifecycle management
In these tough economic times, we should be ramping up our pharma lifecycle management (LCM) strategies. These are well-established strategies for managing and extending the commercial value of products. So...
Back from the future – innovation for pharma
After 5 days of seeing amazing innovations, having discussions about the future of medicine and the practicalities of living on Mars. Plus listening to inspiring speakers from fighter plane-flying physicians...
Cost containment and the German market
The healthcare system’s budget limitations will face further pressure from challenges such as personalised medicine...

Infographics