LEVERKUSEN, Germany — In a related transaction to Tuesday morning's acquisition of Merck's OTC portfolio, Bayer also agreed to enter into a strategic pharma collaboration in the area of cardiovascular diseases with a focus on sGC modulation.
There remains high medical need due to various diseases such as certain forms of pulmonary hypertension or heart failure. Novel modulators of the sGC pathway may have the potential to address this need. However, major development efforts and clinical programs are required to fully explore the benefits of these novel compounds. This collaboration brings together two leading companies in this field.
“Merck’s expertise and global presence in the cardiovascular therapeutic area make it a collaboration party of choice for our sGC programs,” stated Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers. “We truly believe that this collaboration increases our chances of bringing new medicines to more patients, in line with Bayer’s mission ‘Science For A Better Life’”.
“We are now joining forces in the area of sGC modulation to implement a joint development and commercialization collaboration that allows both companies to better explore the medical potential of the novel sGC modulators,” commented Merck’s chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier.
The collaboration includes Adempas (riociguat), which is already approved for the treatment of certain classifications of pulmonary hypertension and is being developed in additional life cycle indications, as well as vericiguat, an investigational compound that is currently being developed in two Phase IIb studies in worsening chronic heart failure. Furthermore, the parties agreed that sGC modulators presently in earlier stages of research and development may be included in the collaboration.
Bayer and Merck will equally share costs and profits from the sGC modulators and implement a joint development and commercialization strategy. Bayer will lead the commercialization for Adempas in the Americas while Merck will lead the commercialization outside the Americas. For vericiguat and other potential investigational sGC modulators, Bayer will lead the commercialization outside the Americas while Merck will lead the commercialization in the Americas. Both companies will have the option to co-promote Adempas and the follow-on sGC modulators in each others’ territories. “This collaboration demonstrates our commitment to sGC modulators, allowing us to better explore the potential of these promising cardiovascular compounds,” Brandicourt said.
Merck will make payments to Bayer of up to $2.1 billion, comprising an up-front payment of $1 billion and sales milestone payments of up to $1.1 billion related to future collective sales of certain collaboration compounds including Adempas.