On August 10, Merck and Cerevance announced that they have reached a strategic cooperation agreement to use Cerevance’s proprietary NETSseq transcriptomic technology platform to discover new targets for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, which aims to focus attention on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Overexpressed or underexpressed proteins in the diseased brain. At the same time, as part of the collaboration, Merck will also receive a Cerevance Alzheimer’s disease program in development.
Under the agreement, Cerevance will receive an upfront payment of $25 million from Merck and is eligible to receive development and commercial milestone payments totaling approximately $1.1 billion as well as potential royalties on approved product sales from the collaboration.
Merck has made great efforts in the research and development of new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. Verubecestat is an oral BACE (β-amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1) inhibitor independently developed by Merck, which can inhibit the production of Aβ. It is speculated that it may have the effect of promoting and improving Alzheimer’s disease. In 2017, Merck announced the termination of Verubecestat’s Phase III clinical trial EPOCH (protocol 017), claiming that it was almost impossible to obtain positive clinical results; in 2018, Merck also terminated another verubecestat treatment for prodromal Alzheimer’s disease. The phase III trial, after researchers also said the treatment was unlikely to show a positive benefit/risk ratio.
According to Cerevance, its NETSseq technology can measure the expression of many more genes, including those that are expressed at low levels in the mature brain. To date, the NETSseq technology platform has been used to analyze specific cell populations in “thousands” of postmortem, healthy and diseased human brain tissue samples of different ages and brain regions. These analyses can reveal biological pathways in neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases that are difficult to see in animal models or differentiated human stem cells. As a result, the NETSseq technology platform can reveal novel therapeutic targets through which neural circuits can be corrected by modulating them. or slow the disease process.
In April, Cerevance’s potential “first-in-class” oral Parkinson’s disease treatment CVN424 received positive results in a Phase II clinical trial. The discovery of CVN424 is based on the NETSseq technology platform. CVN424 can selectively target the dopamine D2 receptor-dependent indirect signaling pathway associated with Parkinson’s disease, aiming to produce the same positive effect as levodopa or deep brain stimulation, while avoiding Adverse reactions.
Mark Carlton, MD, Chief Scientific Officer of Cerevance, said: “Following positive results from a Phase II clinical trial of CVN424 in Parkinson’s disease patients, our partnership with Merck represents an important milestone and strengthens Our commitment to the NETSseq technology platform.”