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EPIRUS Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.

Drug Names(s): NMED-160, MK-6721

Description: MK-6721 is an orally-available N-type calcium channel (Cav 2.2) modulator. N-type calcium channel blockers represent a new class of analgesics that are selective for calcium channels involved in pain signal transmission. The concentration of calcium entering certain nerve cells in the spinal cord is directly linked to pain signal transmission.

Calcium channels control the entry of calcium into the neuron. When a pain signal is transmitted, the channel opens and the calcium concentration increases, triggering the release of neurotransmitters from synaptic vesicles, thereby sending the pain signal to the brain where it is preceived as pain.

Z160 has been reformulated with multiple delivery techniques to address previous solubility and bioavailability issues with NMED-160.

Deal Structure: In March 2006 Neuromed Pharmaceuticals and Merck signed a research collaboration and license agreement to research, develop and commercialize novel compounds for the treatment of pain and other neurological disorders, including MK-6721.

Under the terms of the agreement, Neuromed granted Merck an exclusive worldwide license to research, develop and commercialize MK-6721 and other compounds that selectively target the N-type calcium channel.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck made a $25 million initial cash payment to Neuromed. Neuromed will also receive research funding from Merck for two years as part of the collaborative research program, including the option to renew for an additional two years. Merck is responsible for all development costs and activities.

Milestone payments can total $202 million and could increase to approximately $450 million if a further indication for MK-6721 is developed and approved and a further compound is developed and approved for two...See full deal structure in Biomedtracker

Partners: Merck & Co., Inc.

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