Merck Acquires Novel Neurodegenerative Disease Target With Calporta Buy
The deal worth up to $576m gives Merck what Calporta founding investor Avalon believes is the most advanced program targeting TRPML1, a lysosomal ion channel implicated in neurodegenerative diseases when the lysosome stops clearing debris from cells.
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Merck pays undisclosed upfront fees and promises up to $500m for milestones under licensing and collaboration agreement. Meanwhile, Tetraphase and Xerava are being acquired by La Jolla, after previous bids by Melinta and AcelRx.
Financing for biopharma companies increased by 19% in Q4 to $15.8bn. M&A value quadrupled, compared with Q3, thanks to nine billion-dollar-plus transactions, led by the buy-out of Nestle Skin Health, now Galderma.Among the key alliances of Q4 were recurring themes of gene therapy and oncology, but also big investments in oligonucleotide technologies.
Allergan has tried to go after alopecia in the past; Exicure brings a new spherical nucleic acid (SNA) technology. In other recent deals, AstraZeneca sells Seroquel, Losec rights to Germany’s Cheplapharm.