SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 13, 2004--Acumen Pharmaceuticals announced today it has entered into a research collaboration and license agreement with Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK - News) to research and develop disease-modifying therapeutic drugs for Alzheimer's disease and other memory related disorders. Merck has acquired the worldwide exclusive rights to Acumen's ADDL technology for monoclonal antibodies and vaccines.
Under the terms of the agreement, Acumen will receive an upfront payment and annual research funding, and it will be eligible to receive $48 million in research, development and approval milestones for the first antibody product that is commercialized. Acumen will also be eligible to receive equivalent milestone payments for the research, development and approval of vaccine products. Merck will fund research and development and will have exclusive responsibility for commercializing collaboration products. Merck will pay to Acumen royalties on the sale of products from the collaboration and milestones payments for the attainment of certain sales levels.
ADDLs (amyloid-derived diffusible ligands) are soluble oligomeric assemblies of amyloid beta 1-42 protein. They are increasingly implicated as the molecular structures that cause Alzheimer's disease and trigger early memory-related disorders. ADDLs are a validated target, and antibodies targeting ADDLs have prevented and even reversed memory deficits in animal models. Acumen's founders at Northwestern University and the University of Southern California discovered ADDLs, and they have worked for the past seven years to elucidate the ADDL mechanism and the direct involvement of ADDLs in Alzheimer's disease.
"This is a significant day in the battle against Alzheimer's," said David Summa, President & CEO of Acumen. "It marks a shift from research on ADDLs and how they operate in Alzheimer's disease, to the development of effective therapeutic and preventative drugs. This collaboration will target the development and commercialization of drugs that stop and prevent Alzheimer's disease, and even reverse lost memory function, extending far beyond today's drugs that provide temporary symptomatic relief," he added.
"Acumen is extraordinarily pleased to partner with the scientific team at Merck. They are the hallmark of scientific excellence in pharmaceutical R & D, and we have come to know Merck as a highly professional organization. They respect their partners and they know how to create a win for patients, a win for their shareholders and a win for their partners," said Dr. Grant Krafft, Chairman and Chief Science Officer of Acumen, and company co-founder.
"Merck recognizes Acumen's leadership in the field of ADDL research, and we are pleased to enter into this collaboration to discover and develop breakthrough medicines for what is a significant unmet medical need," said Mervyn Turner, Ph.D., Senior Vice President Worldwide Licensing and External Research for Merck."
Acumen Pharmaceuticals Inc. (www.acumenpharm.com) is a venture-backed, pre-clinical biotech company, focused on developing the first effective therapeutics and diagnostics for Alzheimer's disease and other memory-related disorders. Founded in 1996, Acumen owns or has licensed the critical patents underlying the ADDL mechanism now widely believed to cause Alzheimer's disease. In addition to an ELISA-based diagnostic, Acumen has several therapeutic approaches to stop ADDL-related diseases. NeuroVentures LLC has made a seed investment in the Company.
Acumen Pharmaceuticals Inc. David W. Summa, 415-281-1392 (CEO) email@example.com
Source: Acumen Pharmaceuticals Inc.