- Cerevance, a private, clinical-stage drug discovery and development company, announced a multi-year strategic research collaboration with Merck & Co Inc MRK.
- The deal will focus on identifying novel targets for Alzheimer’s disease utilizing Cerevance’s proprietary Nuclear Enriched Transcript Sort sequencing (NETSseq) technology platform.
- Cerevance will concurrently out-license one discovery-stage program to Merck as part of the collaboration.
- Under the terms of the agreement, Cerevance will receive a $25 million upfront payment and is eligible to receive development and commercial milestone payments totaling approximately $1.1 billion, in addition to potential royalties on sales of approved products derived from the collaboration.
- The deal marks a return of sorts to Alzheimer’s. The company’s current neuroscience portfolio includes therapies for treatment-resistant depression and schizophrenia.
- Alzheimer’s has been absent since Merck walked away from the once promising candidate verubecestat (MK-8931).
- The decision to stop the study followed a recommendation by the external Data Monitoring Committee that concluded that it was unlikely that positive benefit/risk could be established if the trial continued.
- Price Action: MRK shares are up 1.76% at $90.05 during the market session on the last check Tuesday.
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