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Addex and Merck Enter License Agreement to Develop a Drug Candidate for Schizophrenia

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Allosteric modulation company Addex Pharmaceuticals has announced that it has entered an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Merck & Co., Inc. (Merck) to develop ADX63365, an orally available drug candidate for the potential treatment of schizophrenia and other undisclosed indications.

Allosteric modulators are an emerging new class of therapeutic agents. ADX63365, currently in preclinical development, is a positive allosteric modulator (PAM) that targets the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5), which is believed to be important as a target for the treatment of schizophrenia and other conditions. The deal also includes mGluR5 PAM backup compounds discovered by Addex.

Under the terms of the agreement, Addex will receive $22 million upfront and is eligible for up to $455 million in research, development, regulatory and sales milestones for the first product developed for two indications and up to $225 million in additional development, regulatory and sales milestones for a second product developed in two indications.

Addex is eligible to receive royalties on sales of any products resulting from this collaboration. In addition, Addex has an option to co-promote in certain European Union countries and will participate in the joint oversight committee for further development that will be led by Merck.

 “We are thrilled to establish a second deal with Merck to develop this groundbreaking new approach for patients suffering from schizophrenia and other important diseases,” Vincent Mutel, CEO of Addex, said. “This deal confirms that Addex can successfully leverage its technology to produce drug candidates that can have broad benefit for human health.”

"Merck scientists were the first to identify the potential for targeting mGluR5 to treat schizophrenia," said Darryle D. Schoepp, Ph.D., senior vice president and franchise head, Neuroscience, at Merck Research Laboratories. "Through this second collaboration with Addex we have now gained access to a promising drug candidate targeting this receptor that potentially allows us to address an area of high medical importance where current therapies are clearly inadequate."

On 3 December 2007, Addex announced a separate collaboration with an affiliate of Merck, Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Ltd, to discover and develop PAMs targeting mGluR4 for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other undisclosed indications.

“We now expect 2008 full year cash burn to be in the range of CHF 25-30 million,” Tim Dyer, CFO of Addex said, giving initial guidance for 2008.