Merck & Co agrees to buy biotech firm Afferent for upfront $500 million in cash

pharmafile | June 10, 2016 | News story | Medical Communications, Sales and Marketing Afferent Pharmaceuticals, Financial, M&A, MA, Merck & Co 

US drugmaker Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK) said it has agreed to buy biotech firm Afferent Pharmaceuticals for an upfront payment of $500 million in cash.

The acquisition gives the pharma major access to two drug candidates in mid-stage trials to treat chronic cough utilising P2X3 receptors – believed to help in the sensitization of certain sensory nerves.

In addition, to the upfront amount privately-held Afferent will receive a total of up to an additional $750 million related to achievement of certain milestones.

Roger Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories, said: “Afferent has pioneered the clinical development of novel investigational candidates selectively targeting the P2X3 receptor, an exciting area of research. We look forward to advancing these innovative molecules for patients with conditions like chronic cough, an area of significant unmet medical need.”

Afferent’s lead drug candidate, AF-219, is currently being studied in a Phase II trials to treat refractory, chronic cough as well as another mid-stage trial for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) with cough.

Anjali Shukla

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