CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Ra Pharmaceuticals today announced it has entered into a collaboration with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, focused on the development of Cyclomimetics™, a new class of compounds that have the diversity and specificity of antibodies while retaining the attributes of small molecules. Under the agreement, Ra Pharmaceuticals will use its proprietary Extreme Diversity™ platform to develop Cyclomimetic candidates for protein targets in multiple therapeutic areas.
“Cyclomimetics have novel properties that enable the targeting of protein-protein interactions, a property sought after for a wide range of disease indications,” said Doug Treco, Ph.D., Co-Founder, President and CEO, Ra Pharmaceuticals. “The collaboration with Merck highlights the broad potential of our Extreme Diversity platform and provides us with the resources to strengthen and advance our core technology.”
“This agreement with Ra Pharmaceuticals underscores our strategy of collaborating with scientists who have developed innovative new technologies with the potential to complement and enhance our original research and product portfolio,” said Richard Tillyer, Ph.D., Head of Drug Discovery and Preclinical Sciences, Merck Research Laboratories.
Under the terms of the agreement, Ra Pharmaceuticals is eligible to receive up to $200 million in payments, including up-front and research funding, as well as upon the achievement of discovery, development, regulatory and commercialization milestones for multiple targets.
Cyclomimetics™ are peptide-like molecules characterized by their cyclic structure and backbone and side-chain modifications that provide unique, beneficial properties not found in natural peptides. The result is a highly specific and stable molecule with improved cell permeability and the potential for greatly increased bioavailability.
Cyclomimetics are generated using the Company’s proprietary Extreme Diversity™ platform. The platform is unique in that it combines in vitro display technology, a completely defined translation system and a wide variety of non-natural amino acids. Unlike certain other display technologies, in vitro display does not require the use of a bacterial or yeast host, and it can produce libraries of 10 to 100 trillion members. Further, the technology has the potential to address protein-protein interactions and other previously undruggable targets.
About Ra Pharmaceuticals
Ra Pharma™ is leveraging its ability to rapidly generate drug candidates to develop its own portfolio of products and partnerships focused on intracellular protein-protein interactions and other innovative approaches for addressing unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit: www.rapharma.com.
Ra Pharma was incorporated in 2008 and secured a $27M Series A in February of 2010 led by New Enterprise Associates with Morgenthaler Ventures, Novartis Venture Funds and Amgen Ventures participating.
MacDougall Biomedical Communications
Michelle Avery, 781-235-3060