Merck, NGM Partner in BiologicsBy
NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company and Merck & Co. have entered into a multi-year collaboration to research, discover, develop, and commercialize novel biologic therapies across a wide range of therapeutic areas. This agreement will become effective upon the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
Under the agreement, Merck will make an upfront payment to NGM of $94 million and will purchase a 15% equity stake in NGM for $106 million at a price per share that represents a 20% premium to NGM's most recent financing. Merck will commit up to $250 million to fund all of NGM's efforts under the initial five-year term of the collaboration, with the potential for additional funding if certain conditions are met.
The collaboration includes multiple drug candidates currently in preclinical development at NGM, including NP201, which is being evaluated for the treatment of diabetes, obesity and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NGM will lead the research and development of the existing preclinical candidates and have the autonomy to identify and pursue other discovery-stage programs at its discretion. Merck will have the option to license all resulting NGM programs following human proof of concept trials. If Merck exercises this option, Merck will lead global product development and commercialization for the resulting products, if approved.
Prior to Merck initiating a Phase III study for a licensed program, NGM may elect to either receive milestone and royalty payments or, in certain cases, to co-fund development and participate in a global cost and revenue share arrangement of up to 50%. The agreement also provides NGM with the option to participate in the co-promotion of any co-funded program in the United States. Merck will have the option to extend the research agreement for two additional two-year terms.
NGM's lead program, NGM282, currently in clinical development for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and NASH, as well as programs that are the focus of NGM's pre-existing collaboration agreements, are not subject to the option under the Merck collaboration.
Source: Merck & Co.