Skyhawk Therapeutics Announces Collaboration Agreement with Merck to Discover and Develop Novel Small Molecules that Modulate RNA Splicing


Skyhawk will deploy its SkySTAR platform to develop drug candidates directed to multiple targets for neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.  In exchange, Skyhawk is eligible to receive approximately $600 million per program target consisting of an upfront cash payment and, if Merck exercises its option, potential opt-in fees, milestone payments, as well as royalties on sales of commercialized products.

WALTHAM, Mass., July 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Skyhawk Therapeutics, Inc. (Skyhawk) today announced that it has entered a strategic collaboration with Merck & Company, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, to discover, develop and commercialize small molecules that modulate RNA splicing.  Skyhawk's proprietary SkySTAR technology platform will be employed to discover and develop innovative RNA-binding small molecules designed to selectively modify RNA splicing, as a new modality for the potential treatment of certain neurological diseases and cancer.

Skyhawk Therapeutics, Inc. (PRNewsfoto/Skyhawk Therapeutics)

Under the collaboration agreement, Skyhawk will grant Merck, through a subsidiary, the option to exclusively license worldwide intellectual property rights to candidates discovered and developed under the collaboration that are directed to program targets.  Following Merck's exercise of its option, Merck will be responsible for further development and commercialization.  Skyhawk will receive an upfront cash payment and, to the extent Merck exercises its option, potential milestone payments and royalties on sales of approved products resulting from the collaboration.

"Merck has a long history of commitment to challenging diseases and is relentless in its pursuit of developing new treatment options for patients," said Bill Haney, co-founder and CEO of Skyhawk Therapeutics. "We look forward to demonstrating the ability of our SkySTAR technology platform to deliver novel drug candidates for the disease targets Merck has selected and advancing those compounds to address the unmet medical needs of patients."

"RNA splicing modification offers a new approach to modulating targets previously considered undruggable," said Dr. Dean Y. Li, senior vice president, discovery and translational medicine, Merck Research Laboratories.  "We look forward to working with the scientists at Skyhawk to explore the potential of this new modality."

About Skyhawk Therapeutics
Skyhawk Therapeutics is committed to discovering, developing and commercializing therapies that use its novel SkySTAR (Skyhawk Small molecule Therapeutics for Alternative splicing of RNA) platform to build small molecule drugs that bring breakthrough treatments to patients.

Maura McCarthy


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SOURCE Skyhawk Therapeutics


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