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GEN News Highlights : Mar 31, 2011

Newron Pharmaceuticals Nabs Two Candidates from Merck Serono’s Pipeline

Firm will evaluate pruvanserin and sarizotan for CNS diseases.

Newron Pharmaceuticals and Merck Serono have expanded their existing CNS therapeutics collaboration through an agreement that gives Newron a license to develop its partner’s clinical stage candidates pruvanserin and sarizotan. Under terms of the new deal, Merck retains a buy-back option for each compound on completion of proof-of-concept trials. Newron will have a co-development option if Merck decides to exercise its buy-back rights.

The firms are already collaborating on the development of Newron’s Phase III-stage Parkinson disease drug safinamide. Under terms of this deal, signed in 2006, Merck Serono has exclusive rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize safinamide for its lead indication of Parkinson disease, as well as Alzheimer disease and other therapeutic indications.  

Provanserin and sarizotan are specific serotonin or dopamine receptor modulators for which existing clinical data supports further investigation and development, Newron claims. The firm will carry out additional preclinical work to assess their potential in CNS diseases before starting proof-of-concept studies.