GERMANTOWN, Md.—Looking to identify and develop inhibitors for an undisclosed cancer target, Avalon Pharmaceuticals announced the signing of a discovery, development, and commercialization collaboration with Merck. Under the terms of the agreement, Avalon is eligible for a variety of milestone payments exceeding $200 million, as well as royalties on any commercialized products arising from the deal.
"The combination of Merck's considerable drug discovery and development capabilities and Avalon's unique approach for targeting otherwise intractable cancer pathways should result in the identification of first-in-class drug candidates," said Dr. Kenneth C. Carter, Avalon president and CEO. "This will provide further validation for the AvalonRx technology and its potential for identifying therapeutics based upon the ability to modulate pathways or targets within living cells."
The AvalonRx screening platform includes a variety of functions including gene expression testing, cell-based assays, and SAR development. Avalon will use the platform to screen a select set of compounds from a proprietary Merck library, identifying inhibitor families and taking them through preclinical screening. Merck will then take care of clinical development, regulatory approval, and commercialization.