Domain Therapeutics today announced that an exclusive development and licensing agreement with Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, was signed to develop metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 (mGluR4) Positive Allosteric Modulator (PAM) drugs targeting Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Domain Therapeutics will contribute optimized compounds that have been developed from its proprietary chemical series. Under the terms of the agreement, the company will receive EUR 2 million in upfront payment and research funding, and is eligible for up to EUR 132 million in milestones for the first two products, as well as undisclosed royalties.
“This agreement is a validation of Domain Therapeutics’ business model of addressing difficult GPCRs and partnering compounds, with a significant deal, at an early stage of development,” said Pascal Neuville, CEO, Domain Therapeutics. “Merck Serono is known to set very high standards for the compounds it is licensing and this deal is a demonstration of the quality of our work. We anticipate that this agreement will enable us to sign further deals of this kind.”
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Domain Therapeutics, which has developed great expertise in the GPCR area," said Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President for Global Research and Development at Merck Serono. "This partnership with Domain Therapeutics reflects our long-term commitment to develop new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases."
mGluR4 is a glutamate receptor, member of the G-Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) family and is believed to be a potential therapeutic target for Parkinson’s disease. Allosteric modulation of mGluR4 receptors is thought to exert regulatory activity on glutamate-mediated neurotransmission.