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Merck and Cerevance to research novel targets in Alzheimer’s disease

The total value of the deal is expected to be around $1.1bn


A multi-year strategic research collaboration has been announced between Merck – known as MSD outside the US and Canada – and Cerevance. The companies will work together to identify novel targets for Alzheimer’s disease.

Cerevance, a specialist in diseases affecting the central nervous system (CNS), plans to concurrently out-license the programme according to the terms of the agreement with Merck. Cerevance will utilise its proprietary Nuclear Enriched Transcript Sort sequencing (NETSseq) technology platform.

Merck will pay Cerevance an upfront payment of $25m and Cerevance could receive development and commercial milestone payments totalling around $1.1bn, along with additional royalties.

Mark Carlton, chief scientific officer of Cerevance, said: “The establishment of this collaboration with Merck, which comes on the heels of our positive phase 2 data for CVN424 in patients with Parkinson’s disease, represents a significant milestone for Cerevance and reinforces the promise of our NETSseq technology platform.

“We believe we are well-positioned to identify novel targets for neurodegenerative diseases and look forward to collaborating with Merck to potentially bring forward transformative therapeutics for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”

So far, Cerevance’s NETSseq technology platform has isolated and paved the way for the analysis of specific cell populations in thousands of post-mortem, healthy and diseased human brain tissue samples spanning a range brain regions and of age groups.

Human brain tissue evaluations such as these can reveal biological pathways that underpin neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases which can often be difficult to identify in differentiated human stem cells or animal models. Subsequently, Cerevance’s platform can expose novel therapeutic targets that have the potential to be modulated, in order to correct neural circuitry or slow the disease process.

Commenting on the partnership, Jason Uslaner, vice president and head of neuroscience discovery, Merck Research Laboratories, said: “Progress in our understanding of the biology of neurodegenerative diseases continues to reveal compelling new mechanisms for potential therapeutic intervention.

“We look forward to advancing the discovery programme as well as taking advantage of the NETSseq platform to identify new targets with the team at Cerevance.”

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

10th August 2022

From: Research, Sales



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