Lycera Corp. has entered a collaboration agreement with Merck to discover, develop and commercialize small-molecule therapies for the treatment of a broad range of immune-mediated disorders. Lycera will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and research funding, and is eligible to receive more than $300 million in research, development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. Merck is responsible for clinical development and will have worldwide marketing and commercialization rights to any products that may result from the collaboration. Lycera is also eligible to receive royalty payments, development, and sales milestones.
“We are absolutely delighted to expand our relationship with Merck, a collaboration that builds on the culture of scientific excellence fostered by both companies,” said Kathleen M. Metters, Ph.D., Lycera president and chief executive officer. “Lycera’s proven track record in accelerating early stage programs to development candidate status holds the potential to fuel Merck’s early stage pipeline.”
“There are substantial unmet medical needs and opportunities in autoimmune disorders, and new targets representing attractive opportunities that we are very pleased to pursue through our new collaboration with Lycera,” said Rupert Vessey, D.Phil., FRCP, senior vice president, global scientific strategy, Merck Research Laboratories. “Lycera’s innovative capabilities and productivity, exemplified by the RORgt program on which we currently collaborate, make them ideal partners for Merck in this area of drug discovery.”