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Microbiotix, Inc., a privately-held, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel small molecule anti-infective drugs, announced today that it has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.

As part of this agreement, Microbiotix gains worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize MBX- 700 and MBX-701 (formerly SCH 900942 and SCH 900188), two non-nucleoside inhibitors of the hepatitis C virus NS5B polymerase. MBX-700 is in Phase I clinical testing and MBX-701 is currently in preclinical development. Merck is eligible for milestone payments during development stages of the candidates, and for royalty payments from any resulting products. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

MBX-700 and MBX-701 are designed to inhibit the replication of the hepatitis C virus by acting on the NS5B polymerase, a clinically validated target that is essential for viral genome replication. In vitro studies have shown MBX-700 to be among the most potent HCV NS5B polymerase inhibitors.

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