MELBOURNE, Australia, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Australian biotechnology company Amrad Corporation Ltd today announced it had received its first US$3 million milestone payment under its exclusive license and research collaboration with Merck Sharp & Dohme (Australia) Pty Limited (MSD). This brings the total amount received by Amrad under the collaboration to US$8 million since the agreement was signed in June 2003.
Amrad Chief Executive Officer, Dr Peter Smith, said the milestone payment was further proof that Amrad's reinvigorated business strategy was on target and that its science is delivering value.
"I am delighted to announce that we have met the first of several preclinical milestones in our R&D collaboration agreement with MSD. This is important not just because of the payment itself, but also because it demonstrates the capabilities of our Biologicals Research group here at Amrad in achieving excellent progress against the research objectives agreed with MSD," Dr Smith said.
In June, Amrad announced one of the largest biotechnology collaborations in Australian history, with potential milestones of US$112 million plus royalties. Amrad and MSD signed an exclusive licensing and multi-year research collaboration agreement to develop drugs with therapeutic potential in areas such as asthma, other types of respiratory disease and oncology.
Under the agreement Amrad and MSD are working together to investigate drug candidates, with MSD being solely responsible for all clinical development and marketing.
MSD Managing Director Will Delaat said MSD was pleased the initial preclinical milestone had been achieved on time and on target.
"This reinforces our confidence in the quality of Amrad's research, which we hope will help accelerate Merck's innovation and development efforts for advancing the treatment of asthma around the world," said Mr Delaat.
"The milestone payment also demonstrates the support local subsidiaries of global pharmaceutical companies can offer Australian biotechnology firms, such as Amrad, in bringing their research from the laboratory to the international market."
Amrad Corporation Limited is an Australian drug discovery and development based biotechnology company. Amrad's in-house R&D expertise is focused on priority projects in the areas of cytokine biology especially in the fields of inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, as well as cancer.
Amrad has considerable intellectual property in this area covering targets such as VEGF-B, GM-CSFR, IL-13R and LIF. In October 2003 Amrad announced its intention to spin off its HIV and hepatitis programs. Further information about projects in drug discovery and development can be found at http://www.amrad.com.au/.
About Merck Sharp & Dohme (Australia)
MSD is the subsidiary of global research-based pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Inc. Operating in Australia for more than 50 years, MSD is among Australia's top 40 firms investing in research and development. The Amrad asthma collaboration builds on other significant collaborations between MSD and Australian researchers, including a vaccine now in final clinical trials that offers hope in the fight against cervical cancer. Further information on MSD can be found at msd-australia.com.au
Amrad Corporation Limited