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MSD and Curve Therapeutics agree on deal potentially worth $1.7bn

The two companies will collaborate on next generation drug discovery

MSD

MSD – known as Merck & Co in the US and Canada – has announced it will be working with Curve Therapeutics (Curve) to discover and validate modulators of up to five therapeutic targets.

Curve is a private biotechnology company driving a functional drug discovery platform and – as part of its collaboration with MSD – will initially use its Microcycle technology for oncology and neurology indications.

According to the terms of the agreement, Curve will receive an upfront payment, with the eligibility to receive research, development and commercial milestones of up to $1.7bn if all five of the therapeutic programmes succeed. In addition to this, Curve will receive a royalty on net sales of any approved products as a result of the partnership.

As part of the deal, Curve will perform cell-based functional screening, characterisation, data-mining and analysis, along with Microcycle optimisation. MSD will lead the optimisation, clinical development, manufacturing and commercialisation of compounds identified through the collaboration.

Curve’s drug discovery platform enables the direct identification of biologically active molecules for targets which have proved complex to address when using conventional discovery methods.

Simon Kerry, chief executive officer of Curve, said: “This collaboration is a major milestone for Curve and an important endorsement of our groundbreaking drug discovery platform. Working with MSD on selected therapeutic targets will complement Curve’s in-house drug discovery and development programmes.”

Professor Ali Tavassoli, chief scientific officer of Curve, said: “Screening a genetically encoded Microcycle library against proteins in their native intracellular state is unique in drug discovery and Curve’s platform creates an opportunity to discover functional hits that are readily converted to small-molecule leads against the most challenging targets in drug discovery.”

Rob Garbaccio, vice president of discovery chemistry at MSD Research Laboratories, said: “At MSD we are committed to bringing forward medicines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. We look forward to collaborating with the scientists at Curve to evaluate new ways to treat complex diseases.”

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

16th February 2022

From: Research

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