Massachusetts-based Yumanity Therapeutics has secured a drug development deal worth up to nearly $500 million with pharma giant Merck to develop new therapies for neurodegenerative disorders.
The partnership is set to combine the drug discovery platform of Yumanity Therapeutics with the development and commercialization expertise in neuroscience of Merck.
As per the deal, Merck will acquire exclusive rights to a couple of Yumanity Therapeutics’ pipeline programs for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar dementia (FTLD).
The companies will work jointly to advance the preclinical programs during the research period after which Merck will get the right for continuing clinical development and commercialization.
Fiona Marshall – Vice President of Neuroscience Discovery at Merck Research Laboratories said: “There remains tremendous unmet medical need for the treatment of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar dementia.
“We look forward to working with scientists at Yumanity to advance research and evaluate the potential for therapeutic intervention in these neurodegenerative diseases.”
As per the deal, Yumanity Therapeutics will be given an upfront payment from Merck besides holding the right to earn payments related to milestones and royalties on net sales pertaining to the pipeline programs.
Merck is also joining a Series C financing round with present Yumanity Therapeutics’ investors which include Fidelity Management & Research Company, Redmile Group, Tony Coles, Pfizer Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Dolby Family Ventures.
Richard Peters – Yumanity Therapeutics CEO said: “We are excited to collaborate with the Merck neuroscience team focused on the goal of bringing novel therapeutic options to ALS and FTLD patients.
“This alliance reflects our shared commitment to neurodegenerative diseases that continue to have high unmet need. We look forward to a productive collaboration.”