Merck and Pfizer Sign Separate Pacts for Developing Schizophrenia Drugs

January 10, 2008
Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Merck & Co. and Pfizer signed separate pacts for preclinical drug candidates to treat schizophrenia.

Whitehouse Station, NJ and New York (Jan. 3 and 7)-Merck & Co. and Pfizer signed separate pacts for preclinical drug candidates to treat schizophrenia.

Merck signed an exclusive worldwide agreement with Addex Pharmaceuticals (Geneva), to develop ADX63365, a positive allosteric modulator (PAM) that targets the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5), which is believed to be an important target for treating schizophrenia and other conditions. The deal also includes mGluR5 PAM backup compounds. 

Allosteric modulators are an emerging class of small-molecule therapeutics and may offer more sophisticated ways to normalize biological signaling compared with classical orthosteric agonists or antagonist drugs, according to an Addex release.

Under the agreement, Addex will initially receive $22 million. The company is eligible to receive as much as $455 million in research, development, regulatory, and sales milestones for the first product developed for two indications, and $225 million for the second product developed in two indications. Addex will receive royalties on the sales of any products resulting from this collaboration. In addition, the company has an option to copromote the drugs in certain European Union countries and will participate in the joint oversight committee, led by Merck, for further development.

In December 2007, Addex formed a separate collaboration with an affiliate of Merck, Merck Sharp and Dohme Research, to discover and develop PAMs targeting mGLUR4 for treating Parkinson’s disease and other undisclosed indications.

Pfizer and Taisho team

Pfizer signed an agreement with

Taisho Pharmaceutical

(Tokyo) for a worldwide (excluding Japan) collaboration to research, develop, and commercialize TS-032, a new schizophrenia drug candidate discovered by Taisho and currently in preclinical development. TS-032 is a metabotropic glutamate receptor. Pfizer will give Taisho an initial payment of $22 million. Under the agreement, Taisho grants exclusive development and commercialization rights outside Japan for TS-032 to Pfizer.