Merck acquires Calporta Therapeutics from COI Pharmaceuticals

Merck acquisition of Calporta : Merck has acquired Calporta Therapeutics from COI Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth up to $576 million, as per the latest pharma acquisition news.

Calporta Therapeutics, which was launched in early 2015, is engaged in the development of selective small-molecule agonists to TRPML1. According to COI Pharmaceuticals, TRPML1 is thought to have a role in lysosomal function by promoting autophagy and lysosomal exocytosis.

Based in California, COI Pharmaceuticals is an unconventional venture-pharma entity that helps life science inventors. COI, which expands to Community of Innovation, was founded in 2013 to support the portfolio companies of Avalon Ventures.

Jay Lichter – managing director of Avalon Ventures and president and CEO of COI Pharmaceuticals said: “As early as 2014, our scientists identified TRPML1 as an important target for improving lysosomal function. We saw the potential to treat a number of diseases by activating this ion channel, and we launched Calporta in early 2015.

“Now four years later, we have an agreement with Merck, an industry leader in biopharmaceutical research and development, which is key to advancing these therapies to clinical trials and patients.”

The preclinical stage TRPML1 agonists are being studied for their potential for the treatment of various lysosomal storage and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Fiona Marshall – Merck Research Laboratories neuroscience discovery vice president, commenting on Merck acquisition of Calporta, said: “Increasing evidence points to the accumulation of toxic proteins as a common mechanism in neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s.

“We look forward to conducting further research to evaluate the potential of TRPML1 agonists to activate a natural clearance mechanism the brain employs to clear toxic proteins.”

The consideration being paid by Merck for the acquisition includes an upfront payment followed by contingent milestone payments.

Commenting on Merck acquisition of Calporta,  Sanford J. Madigan – CEO of Calporta and COI Pharmaceuticals business development senior vice president, said: “This agreement with Merck is an important milestone towards the rapid development of a novel therapeutic approach that could help millions of people with degenerative disorders caused by toxic accumulation of proteins, fats, or other cellular macromolecules,.

“I am proud of the Calporta team for their expertise, execution, and diligence in swiftly advancing a new scientific breakthrough toward the clinic.”

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