Odanacatib advancement into Phase III trial for osteoporosis triggered payment.

Merck & Co. advanced its osteoporosis candidate into a Phase III trial, prompting a $2 million payment to Celera. The fee is part of the companies’ collaboration related to cathepsin K inhibitors.

Odanacatib is an orally available, highly selective inhibitor of the cathepsin K enzyme. If this candidate or others developed under the cathepsin K collaboration are move toward commercialization, Celera will receive additional milestone payments and potentially royalties on net sales.

A multiyear collaboration with Merck to develop small molecule inhibitors of cathepsin K was initiated in November 1996. Celera and Merck extended the research collaboration in December 2001. Celera thus continued to provide a series of candidate compounds to support Merck’s research programs. Celera’s portion of the collaboration was completed in February 2003. Since that time, Merck has been responsible for further R&D.

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