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Merck to acquire Afferent Pharmaceuticals

10 June 2016  •  Author: Victoria White, Digital Content Producer

Merck, known as MSD outside the US and Canada, has announced that it is is to acquire Afferent Pharmaceuticals.

afferent

Afferent Pharmaceuticals is a leader in the development of therapeutic candidates targeting the P2X3 receptor for the treatment of common, poorly-managed, neurogenic conditions. Afferent’s lead investigational candidate, AF-219, is a selective, non-narcotic, orally-administered P2X3 antagonist currently being evaluated in a Phase IIb clinical trial for the treatment of refractory, chronic cough as well as in a Phase II clinical trial in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) with cough.

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

Under terms of the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will acquire all outstanding stock of Afferent in exchange for an upfront payment of $500 million in cash. Also, Afferent shareholders will be eligible to receive a total of up to an additional $750 million associated with the attainment of certain clinical development and commercial milestones for multiple indications and candidates, including AF-219.

Kathleen Sereda Glaub, chief executive officer, Afferent Pharmaceuticals, commented: “We are very pleased to enter into this agreement given Merck’s reputation for maximizing opportunities around novel mechanisms. This agreement with Merck creates significant value for Afferent shareholders while enhancing the potential of our portfolio to provide meaningful benefits to patients globally.”

The closing of the transaction will be subject to certain conditions, including the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions. The companies anticipate the transaction will close in the third quarter of 2016.

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