Compound is an aurora kinase inhibitor in Phase I trials.

Merck Serono exercised its option to add the Japanese territory to its current aurora kinase collaboration with Rigel Pharmaceuticals for $3 million.

In October 2005, the companies entered into a worldwide collaboration, excluding Japan, to develop R763/AS703569 and other such inhibitors. This compound has reportedly exhibited antitumor activity against a broad range of cancer cell lines. Currently there are three Phase I trials, sponsored by Merck Serono, in patients with solid tumors and leukemia.

“Developing a novel, effective, oral therapeutic for cancer patients is the primary goal of our aurora kinase collaboration with Merck Serono,” comments Rigel’s COO, Raul Rodriguez. “We are proud that Merck Serono has re-affirmed its commitment to this program.”

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