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Nov 16, 2006

Merck Signs Two Deals

  • KineMed's translational medicine technology, KineMarker™, will be used to directly measure the modulation of the targeted metabolic pathway in Merck & Co.’s Phase I studies.

    KineMed's KineMarker technology is designed to quickly demonstrate, clinically and preclinically, whether compounds are on mechanism or are acting specifically on the metabolic pathways that are the basis for particular diseases. KineMarker technology will be used to evaluate the therapeutic utility of compounds that inhibit de novo lipogenesis. The technology measures the kinetics using a stable isotope labeling technique and mass isotopomer distribution analysis, which allows observation of treatment-induced changes in the rate of patients' lipogenesis.

    Separately, Merck and Advinus Therapeutics formed a drug discovery and clinical development collaboration in the area of metabolic disorders. Advinus and Merck will work together develop clinically validated drug candidates for metabolic disorders, with Merck retaining the right to advance the most promising of these candidates into late-stage clinical trials.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Advinus will receive an upfront payment and could potentially receive milestone payments of up to $74.5 million for each target included in the collaboration. Advinus is also eligible for royalties on the sales of any products that result from the collaboration. The collaboration will begin with two target programs, and could expand to include others over time.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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