Merck May Pay Slightly Under $600 Million — To Quartet Medicine — For R&D On Tetrahydrobiopterin Pain Management Candidates

The initial terms firmly set an investment of “only” $20 million during 2016 — in two $10 million chunks. However, if the various milestones are met, this could be a real game changer for Quartet. Even at a bit north of $500 million, all in, it is not likely to move the needle (much) at the megalith sitting in Kenilworth, in the coming years. And yet, it is a piece of promising news, just the same — and immediately confirms Mr. Frazier’s optimistic talk yesterday, at Goldman Sachs, in the Apple — he does seem eager to do small to mid-sized deals, in 2016.

We will keep an eye on this one, but Merck hasn’t really emphasized the various pain management franchises of late. A strong new market leading discovery/technology though — would always be of interest to Merck, we are sure. And as a rule, pain meds that are novel and deliver significant improvements over current state of art, usually command very high margins. As I say — good news.

[With a H/T to my commenters, for the heads up, this morning!] From the keyboard of Damian Garde, then, at FierceBiotech — a bit — but do go read it all:

. . . .Under an agreement between the two companies, Merck will pay Quartet $10 million up front and $10 million more later this year for the right to buy into the company’s early-stage treatments targeting BH4.

Short for tetrahydrobiopterin, BH4 is a chemical produced by the body after injury. Quartet, looking at years of genetic data, noticed that the roughly 2% of patients born with inherently low BH4 production tend to have fewer problems with chronic pain, and the company has since designed some small-molecule candidates designed to block the chemical and relieve pain and inflammation in the other 98% of the population. . . .

Onward, then, with Merck separately set to announce earnings on February 3, 2016, before the NYSE opens. . . . We warmly greet 2016 with hope, and serenity — for all that is to come. . . smile. Onward, indeed.


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