Agreements with KineMed and Advinus cover clinical-stage target pharmacodynamics and discovery and development for metabolic disorders, repectively.

KineMed’s translational medicine technology, KineMarker™, will be used to directly measure the modulation of the targeted metabolic pathway in Merck & Co.’s Phase I studies.

KineMed’s KineMarker technology is designed to quickly demonstrate, clinically and preclinically, whether compounds are on mechanism or are acting specifically on the metabolic pathways that are the basis for particular diseases. KineMarker technology will be used to evaluate the therapeutic utility of compounds that inhibit de novo lipogenesis. The technology measures the kinetics using a stable isotope labeling technique and mass isotopomer distribution analysis, which allows observation of treatment-induced changes in the rate of patients’ lipogenesis.

Separately, Merck and Advinus Therapeutics formed a drug discovery and clinical development collaboration in the area of metabolic disorders. Advinus and Merck will work together develop clinically validated drug candidates for metabolic disorders, with Merck retaining the right to advance the most promising of these candidates into late-stage clinical trials.

Under the terms of the agreement, Advinus will receive an upfront payment and could potentially receive milestone payments of up to $74.5 million for each target included in the collaboration. Advinus is also eligible for royalties on the sales of any products that result from the collaboration. The collaboration will begin with two target programs, and could expand to include others over time.

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