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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated

Drug Names(s): MK-5108

Description: MK-5108 is an Aurora kinase inhibitor. Aurora kinases are key enzymes involved in the cell cycle and are implicated in the growth and proliferation of tumor cells in a variety of solid tumor cancers. As enzymes specific for and essential to cell growth and division, Aurora kinases hold the potential to be important control points for slowing the growth and spread of tumors. Aurora kinases are known to be overexpressed in a number of tumor types, including colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and other cancers as well as in lymphoma and leukemia.

Deal Structure: In June 2004, Merck and Vertex entered into a global agreement to develop and commercialize Aurora kinase inhibitors, for the treatment of cancer. Under the agreement, Merck is responsible for worldwide clinical development and commercialization of Aurora kinase inhibitors selected as part of the collaboration and will pay Vertex development milestones and royalties on product sales. In addition, the companies conducted a joint research program to characterize the activity of multiple Aurora kinase inhibitors across a broad range of cancer types as well as to identify drug candidates directed at Aurora kinases, using molecular profiling approaches and microarray technologies pioneered by Merck. As part of the agreement with Merck, Vertex received a $20 million upfront payment, an additional $14 million in research funding over the joint research program and more than $60 million in additional milestone payments.

In February 2010, Merck indicated to Vertex, based on Merck's...See full deal structure in Biomedtracker

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