Transaction includes a $30 million equity investment, $15 million in research reimbursements, up to $422 million in milestones, plus royalties.

GTx and Merck & Co. entered an agreement related to selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs). These candidates have reportedly shown potential in treating musculoskeletal conditions including age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia).

GTx will initially receive $40 million plus $15 million in research reimbursements to be paid over the first three years of the collaboration. Merck will also make an equity investment of $30 million in GTx common stock. GTx will also be eligible to receive up to $422 million in milestone payments associated with the development and approval of drugs as well as royalties.

“By selectively targeting the androgen receptor, SARMs offer a promising alternative to androgen therapy with the potential advantages of oral dosing, tissue selectivity, and improved safety and tolerability,” according to Alan B. Ezekowitz, D.Phil., senior vp and franchise head, bone, respiratory, immunology, and endocrine, Merck Research Laboratories.

GTx and Merck will partner to discover, develop, and commercialize current as well as future SARM molecules. The collaboration includes GTx’ lead candidate, Ostarine™, which is in Phase II evaluation for the treatment of muscle loss in patients with cancer. Merck will be responsible for all future costs associated with ongoing development and if approved, commercialization of Ostarine as well as other investigational SARMs resulting from the collaboration.

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