STRASBOURG, France—Jan. 17 saw the announcement by DomainTherapeutics that it has entered into an exclusive development and licensingagreement with Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany, to develop metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 (mGluR4) positive allosteric modulator (PAM) drugs targeting Parkinson's disease and otherneurodegenerative diseases.
Domain Therapeutics will contribute optimizedcompounds that have been developed from its proprietary chemical series. Underthe terms of the agreement, the company will receive €2 million in upfrontpayment and research funding, and is eligible for up to €132 million inmilestones for the first two products, as well as undisclosed royalties.
"This agreement is a validation of DomainTherapeutics' business model of addressing difficult GPCRs and partneringcompounds, with a significant deal, at an early stage of development," saysPascal Neuville, CEO of Domain Therapeutics. "Merck Serono is known to set veryhigh standards for the compounds it is licensing and this deal is ademonstration of the quality of our work. We anticipate that this agreementwill enable us to sign further deals of this kind."
"We are pleased to have the opportunity towork with Domain Therapeutics, which has developed great expertise in the GPCRarea," says Bernhard Kirschbaum, executive vice president for global research and development at Merck Serono. "This partnership with DomainTherapeutics reflects our long-term commitment to develop new treatments forneurodegenerative diseases."
A glutamate receptor, mGluR4 is a member of theG-Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) family and is believed to be a potentialtherapeutic target for Parkinson's disease. Allosteric modulation of mGluR4receptors is thought to exert regulatory activity on glutamate-mediatedneurotransmission.