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Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc.

Drug Names(s): MK-6336, Lonafarnib, SCH 066336, rEBP994

Description: Sarasar is a farnesyl transferase inhibitor (FTI). FTIs inhibit an enzyme known as farnesyl transferase, which is needed for the activation of a growth-promoting gene called ras. FTIs inhibit the growth of various cancer cells.

The ras gene acts somewhat like a growth on-off switch. Genetic mutations can occur in ras, which keep it in the on position and stimulate cells to keep growing. These ras mutations are found in about 30% of all human cancers. The presence of ras mutations in patients' cells was found to correlate with resistance to chemotherapy.

Cell growth signals are transmitted by the activation of ras within the cell. To become activated, ras must become embedded in the cell membrane. But before ras can do this, it must first be altered. An enzyme known as farnesyl transferase alters ras so that it can locate in the cell membrane. Zarnestra inhibits farnesyl transferase; thus ras cannot be altered, and it cannot locate in the cell membrane. Therefore, ras is not activated and the signal for cell growth is not transmitted.

Deal Structure: Sarasar was originally developed by Schering-Plough.

In March 2009, Merck & Co and Schering-Plough announced that their Boards of Directors have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which Merck and Schering-Plough will combine, under the name Merck, in a stock and cash transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, Schering-Plough shareholders will receive 0.5767 shares and $10.50 in cash for each share of Schering-Plough. Each Merck share will automatically become a share of the combined company. The acquisition was completed in November 2009.

Merck and Eiger
In September 2010, Eiger BioPharmaceuticals entered a License Agreement with Merck. Under the Merck License Agreement, Merck granted Eiger an exclusive, worldwide license to develop, manufacture, and sell products containing the compounds Sarasar (lonafarnib) for the treatment of all human viruses except certain specified viruses such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C alone.

Eiger is...See full deal structure in Biomedtracker

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