Cocrystal Pharma, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company discovering and developing novel antiviral therapeutics that target the replication machinery of influenza viruses, hepatitis C viruses and noroviruses, has entered into an exclusive license and collaboration agreement with Merck to discover and develop certain proprietary influenza A/B antiviral agents.
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck will fund research and development for the programme, including clinical development, and will be responsible for worldwide commercialisation of any products derived from the collaboration.
Cocrystal will be paid an undisclosed upfront sum and is eligible to receive payments related to designated development, regulatory and sales milestones with the potential to earn up to $156 million, as well as undisclosed royalties on product sales.
“We are thrilled to work with Merck, a pre-eminent research-intensive pharmaceutical company, to advance the development of certain influenza A/B antivirals. Our R&D team has been intently focused on advancing our influenza programme forward and we believe the combination of Merck resources and our innovative platform will enable us to rapidly advance important new treatments for influenza, which is a significant worldwide unmet need,” commented Dr Gary Wilcox, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cocrystal.
“This collaboration is a significant milestone for Cocrystal that we believe further validates our approach to drug discovery with our unique structure-based technologies and Nobel Prize winning expertise to create first- and best-in-class antiviral drugs.”
“Collaborations such as this are an integral part of our infectious disease R&D strategy,” said Dr Daria Hazuda, Chief Scientific Officer Merck Exploratory Science Center and Vice President Infectious Diseases and Vaccines Discovery, Merck Research Laboratories.
“New meaningful options for the treatment of influenza are badly needed. We look forward to working with Cocrystal’s experienced team.”