NicOx S.A. has achieved the first milestone in its agreement with Merck in the antihypertensive field, resulting in a $6.5 million milestone payment to NicOx. The milestone was linked to the initiation of GLP toxicology studies on the first development candidate selected by the two companies. This milestone represents an important step towards filing an IND and clinical development of this compound.
Michele Garufi, chairman and chief executive officer of NicOx, said, "We are very pleased by the rapid selection of the first development candidate with Merck and are eager to move this antihypertensive compound into clinical development. The selection and advancement of this compound is a testament to the excellent joint research conducted by NicOx and Merck and once again highlights the potential of our nitric oxide-donating technology to generate safe and effective new product candidates for human health."
The collaboration, established in March 2006, is focused on the development and commercialization of new antihypertensive drugs using NicOx' proprietary nitric oxide-donating technology for the treatment of high blood pressure, complications of hypertension and other cardiovascular and related disorders.
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck has the exclusive right to develop and commercialize antihypertensive compounds using NicOx' nitric oxide-donating technology for the treatment of systemic hypertension. NicOx has the option to co-promote products that result from the agreement on a fee-for-detail basis to specialist physicians in the U.S. and certain European countries. Merck will also pay NicOx royalties on the sales of all products that result from the agreement. To date NicOx has received $18 million from Merck in connection with this agreement, and stands to receive $354 million in further potential milestone payments.