Pharma Focus Asia

Skyhawk Therapeutics announces the expansion of its collaboration agreement with Merck

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Skyhawk Therapeutics, Inc. announced that its strategic collaboration with Merck, known outside the United States and Canada as MSD, has been expanded to include small molecules for modulation research, develop and market RNA splicing, using Skyhawk's proprietary technology platform, SkySTAR ™, to research and develop innovative small molecule RNA-binding molecules that are designed to selectively modify RNA splicing to create a new method for potential treatment of certain autoimmune and metabolic diseases The collaboration now includes four disease areas: neurodegeneration, oncology, autoimmunity and metabolic diseases.

As part of the cooperation agreement, Skyhawk Merck, through a subsidiary, gives the option to exclusively license the worldwide intellectual property rights to candidates who were discovered and developed as part of the cooperation and are aimed at program targets. If Merck makes use of this option, Merck is responsible for further development and marketing. Skyhawk will receive an upfront payment in cash and, depending on the extent to which Merck exercises its option, potential payments for milestones and royalties on the sale of approved products that result from the collaboration.

"Merck has already proven to be a great partner in the research of novel drug candidates for neurological diseases and cancer," said Bill Haney , co-founder and CEO of Skyhawk Therapeutics. "Our expanded collaboration in the field of autoimmune and metabolic diseases reflects the success of SkySTAR ™ to date Platform shows how small molecules can be used to meet unmet medical patient needs, and the Skyhawk team is proud to work with a partner who has long been committed to combating complex diseases and is tireless is looking for new treatment options for patients. "

"Modifying RNA splicing offers a new approach to modulating targets that were previously considered non-drug treatable," said Dr. Dean Y. Li , senior vice president of research and translational medicine at Merck Research Laboratories. "We look forward to further expanding our collaboration to explore the potential of this new modality for new areas of disease. "

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