NicOx S.A. has announced the extension of its research collaboration agreement with Merck & Co., Inc.
The purpose of the agreement, signed in August 2003, is to jointly evaluate selected proprietary NicOx nitric oxide-donating compounds in an undisclosed therapeutic area.
While the research was initially focused on one class of compounds, the two companies have agreed to broaden the field of investigation based on joint pre-clinical work conducted to date.
Additional pre-clinical studies will be initiated to identify potential lead candidates for development. Merck will make a payment to NicOx in connection with this extension of the agreement.
Merck exercised its exclusive option to negotiate for a license, development and commercialization agreement during the second quarter of 2005.
Michele Garufi, Chairman and CEO of NicOx, commented, “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Merck. We are very pleased with the progress of this important research program, which suggests that nitric oxide-donation could provide potential benefits in an area of considerable medical need.”
“The conclusion of any future licensing agreement is of course dependent on successful results from the new research program and the agreement of contractual terms. NicOx and Merck expect to conclude this process during 2006.”