Firm will fund ongoing research and will hold rights to any resulting compounds.

Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development and Merck & Co. have agreed to collaborate to further research on osteoporosis. The parnters expect to discover molecules with the potential for drug development.

Under the multiyear license and research agreement, Merck & Co. Merck will fund ongoing research in the laboratory of Laurie Glimcher, M.D., the Irene Heinz Given professor of immunology at Harvard School of Public Health and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Glimcher’s research has reportedly elucidated the role of a recently identified regulator in adult bone formation. An adaptor protein regulates the growth of cells called osteoblasts that are responsible for bone formation, she says. Building on this and subsequent discoveries, the Merck-Harvard collaboration will seek to identify compounds that can effectively intervene in this pathway to enhance the growth of osteoblasts in humans with the goal of strengthening bone and staving off osteoporosis.

In accordance with the agreement, Merck will also be granted a license to certain specific molecules that may arise from this project.

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