Idera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced that it has entered into a worldwide licensing and collaboration agreement with Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, for the research, development and commercialization of Idera's Toll-like Receptor 9 (TLR9) agonists for the treatment of cancer.
Under the agreement, Idera has agreed to exclusively license the therapeutic oncology applications, excluding cancer vaccines, of its lead TLR9 agonists, IMO-2055 and IMO-2125.
In addition, Idera and Merck KGaA have agreed to engage in a research collaboration to identify a specified number of novel, follow-on TLR9 agonists, which will be derived using Idera's chemistry-based approach and for which Merck will have the exclusive right to use in oncology applications other than cancer vaccines.
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck KGaA has agreed to pay an upfront license fee of $40 million (about EUR 28 million based on current exchange rates) to Idera.
In addition, Idera is eligible to receive milestone payments of up to $381 million, based on current exchange rates, (EUR 264 million), depending on success in achieving clinical development and commercialization, as well as royalties on sales of any products developed and commercialized by Merck KGaA using IMO-2055, IMO-2125 or the follow-on TLR9 agonists. The contract will take effect and the upfront fee will be paid following, and subject to, regulatory clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.