Monday, October 15, 2012

Merck and Aicuris enter into exclusive worldwide License agreement for Investigational Portfolio Targeting Human Cytomegalovirus

Merck and AiCuris announced that they have entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for AiCuris novel portfolio of investigational medicines targeting Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV), including letermovir (AIC246), an once daily oral late stage antiviral candidate being investigated for the treatment and prevention of HCMV infection in transplant recipients.  It is a potentially first in class molecule derived from a novel chemical class (quinazolines) and is designed to inhibit the HCMV viral terminase.
 In April 2012, AiCuris announced that a randomized, placebo controlled Phase IIb clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of letermovir in HCMV-seropositive allogeneic human blood precursor cell recipients (bone marrow transplant patients) met all primary efficacy endpoints.  Letermovir has received Orphan Drug Status in the European Union and the United States, where it has also been granted Fast Track Designation
AiCuris has built a leading portfolio of innovative antiviral HCMV candidates that are designed to address novel targets and offer the potential for HCMV prophylaxis. This portfolio complements Merck's broad antiviral portfolio.
Terms of the Agreement
Under the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will gain worldwide rights to develop and commercialize candidates in AiCuris' HCMV portfolio. AiCuris will receive a €110 million upfront payment and is eligible for milestone payments of up to €332.5 million based on successful achievement of development, regulatory and commercialization goals for HCMV candidates, including letermovir, an additional back-up candidate as well as other Phase I candidates designed to act via an alternate mechanism. In addition, AiCuris will be entitled to receive royalty payments reflecting the advanced stage of the clinical program on any potential products that result from the agreement. Merck will be responsible for all development activities and costs