Chimerix signs worldwide license agreement with Merck & Co. for up to $168.5 million

Deal grants Merck exclusive worldwide rights to CMX157, Chimerix's novel lipid acyclic nucleoside phosphonate currently being evaluated to treat HIV infection

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Chimerix Inc. recentlyannounced the execution of a license agreement that gives Merck & Co., known as MSDoutside the United States and Canada, exclusive worldwide rights to CMX157,Chimerix's novel lipid acyclic nucleoside phosphonate currently being evaluatedto treat HIV infection.
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck receivesan exclusive worldwide license and will be responsible for development andcommercialization of CMX157, an investigational oral nucleoside reversetranscriptase inhibitor. In turn, Chimerix will receive a $17.5 million upfrontpayment and will be eligible to receive as much as $151 million in milestones,as well as royalties on future sales.
"This agreement is a significant milestone inChimerix's mission of developing best-in-class therapies for major unmetmedical needs based on our lipid technology platform," said Kenneth I.Moch, President and CEO of Chimerix. "Merck is the ideal collaborator todevelop this drug and help us to maximize the potential of CMX157, given itscommitment to its HIV franchise. The value created through the licensure ofCMX157 will help us continue to advance our lead compound, CMX001, through itscritical Phase III trial, for which we currently plan to begin enrollingpatients early next year."
CMX157 is reportedly delivers high intracellularconcentrations of the active antiviral agent tenofovir diphosphate. CMX157 is saidto be more than 200-fold more potent invitro versus tenofovir against all major HIV subtypes resistant to currenttherapies. This could be a boon in treating tenofovir-resistant viruses and indealing with the hepatitis B virus. Chimerix and Merck also explain that CMX157'snovel structure results in decreased circulating levels of tenofovir, loweringsystemic exposure and thereby reducing the potential for renal side effects.CMX157 has completed a Phase I clinical trial in healthy volunteers, reportedlydemonstrating a favorable safety, tolerability and drug distribution profile.
Chimerix is developing other novel antiviraltherapeutics with potential in such areas as transplantation, oncology and acutecare and global health. These therapeutics are based on a proprietary lipidconjugate technology that is said to allow for enhanced activity,bioavailability and safety in Chimerix's drugs compared to currently approveddrugs.
In addition to CMS157, Chimerix has anotherclinical-stage compound, CMX001, which is a lipid-antiviral-conjugate thatdelivers high intracellular levels of the active antiviral agentcidofovir-diphosphate. Its broad spectrum activity against double-stranded DNA viruseswithout the myelotoxicity and nephrotoxicity of current agents could have thepotential to improve outcomes for immunosuppressed patients.

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