Halle (Saale), Germany //
Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA and probiodrug Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung mbH, Halle (Saale), Germany announced today that they have signed a licensing agreement that gives Merck certain exclusive worldwide rights to probiodrug’s proprietary dipeptidyl peptidase “four” (DP IV) inhibitors.
Merck plans to use these oral DP IV inhibitors in the development of drugs for diabetes and related conditions. probiodrug will receive an initial payment and an equity investment in addition to future payments in the event drug development milestones are met. Additionally, probiodrug will receive royalties on any commercialized products.
DP IV is an enzyme that is intimately involved in the regulation of peptide hormones, such as GLP-1 and GIP, that trigger glucose-dependent insulin biosynthesis and secretion. Inhibition of this enzyme in studies of diabetic animals has been shown to result in improved glucose parameters. probiodrug developed and studied P32/98, its leading DP IV inhibitor development candidate, in preclinical and initial clinical studies, including both healthy volunteers and patients with diabetes.
“We are convinced by the therapeutic potential of this exciting compound”, said Dr. Hans-Ulrich Demuth, Managing Director Research and Development of probiodrug. “This agreement allows Merck to develop antidiabetic drugs using compounds from probiodrug‘s DP IV-inhibitor portfolio, and for probiodrug to focus on developing certain other indications and exploit further antidiabetic targets”.
“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with probiodrug on a promising new avenue of research,” said Dr. Bennett Shapiro, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Licensing and External Research at Merck Research Laboratories. “An aggressive new focus on external collaborations, like this one with probiodrug, is bringing the best science to Merck and broadening our future new product base”.
Type 2 diabetes — the most common form of diabetes — affects about 7-9% of the world population. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 15 million persons are affected. It occurs most often in people over age 45, and the prevalence is increasing. Left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications, including blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and limb amputation. Diabetes is estimated to cost $98 billion in direct U.S. health care costs annually.
Probiodrug is a drug development company with proprietary know-how in structure-function analysis of human regulatory enzymes with broad therapeutic and preventive potential in metabolic diseases, immunology and CNS disorders. The company was established in 1997 in Halle (Saale), Germany, by Drs. Hans-Ulrich Demuth and Konrad Glund.
Merck & Co, Inc. is a leading research-driven pharmaceutical products and service company. Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of innovative products to improve human and animal health, directly and through its joint ventures. Merck-Medco Managed Care manages pharmacy benefits for employers, insurers and other plan sponsors, encouraging the appropriate use of medicines and providing disease management programs. Through these complementary capabilities, Merck works to improve quality of life and contain overall health-care costs.
Dr. Konrad Glund, CEO/CFO
Dr. Hans-Ulrich Demuth, CEO/CSO
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Merck Research Laboratories
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