Merck, Portola to collaborate to develop stroke treatment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Two drug companies have announced an exclusive global collaboration and license agreement on an investigational stroke drug.

Merck & Co. and Portola Pharmaceuticals said they would work to develop and commercialize betrixaban, an anticoagulant drug in phase 2 trials as a prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Merck will pay Portola an initial fee of $50 million for an exclusive worldwide license to betrixaban, and Portola is eligible to receive milestone payments of up to $420 million and royalties on worldwide sales of the drug if it obtains approval. Merck will also assume all development and commercialization costs, including the costs of phase 3 trials. Portola has retained an option to co-fund phase 3 trials in return for additional royalties and to co-promote betrixaban with Merck in the United States.

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