Merck & Co. is paying Depomed $10 million up front for a license to specific patents covering metformin extended-release technology. Merck will use the technology in the development of fixed-dose combinations of sitagliptin and extended-release metformin for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Sitagliptin, which is marketed as Januvia®, is Merck’s treatment for adults with type 2 diabetes. The once-daily pill works by boosting the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. Sales of Januvia for 2008 were $1.4 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement with Depomed, Merck will pay a milestone upon filing of an NDA for the drug combination and royalties on net product sales for a prespecified time-span.
The deal also gives Merck the right to reference Depomend’s NDA for Glumetza® (extended-release metformin hydrochloride tablets) in its future regulatory filings for fixed-dose combinations of sitagliptin with extended release-metformin.