Merck Enters Alzheimer’s Collaboration with Cerevance

Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, will collaborate with Cerevance to identify novel targets for Alzheimer’s disease.

Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, and Cervance, a Boston biotechnology startup, announced that they have entered a strategic research collaboration on August 9, 2022. The deal will see the companies work together to identify novel targets for Alzheimer’s disease via Cerevance’s Nuclear Enriched Transcript Sort sequencing (NETSseq) platform.

NETSseq isolates cell populations from human brain tissue with the aim of exposing biological pathways underlying neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases that may be difficult to see in animal models or differentiated human stem cells. According to a company press release, Cerevance will receive a $25 million upfront payment from Merck for the rights to use the platform. Cerevance is also eligible to receive development and commercial milestone payments, totaling approximately $1.1 billion, as well as additional royalties on sales of approved products derived from the collaboration.

“The establishment of this collaboration with Merck, which comes on the heels of our positive Phase 2 data for CVN424 in patients with Parkinson’s disease, represents a significant milestone for Cerevance and reinforces the promise of our NETSseq technology platform,” said Mark Carlton, chief scientific officer, Cerevance, in the release. “We believe we are well-positioned to identify novel targets for neurodegenerative diseases and look forward to collaborating with Merck to potentially bring forward transformative therapeutics for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”

“Progress in our understanding of the biology of neurodegenerative diseases continues to reveal compelling new mechanisms for potential therapeutic intervention,” said Jason M. Uslaner, vice-president and head of neuroscience discovery, Merck Research Laboratories, in the release. “We look forward to advancing the discovery program as well as taking advantage of the NETSseq platform to identify new targets with the team at Cerevance.”

Source: Cerevance