SCIOS/MARION MERRELL DOW $10.5 MIL. ALZHEIMER’s RESEARCH ALLIANCE
SCIOS/MARION MERRELL DOW $10.5 MIL. ALZHEIMER's RESEARCH ALLIANCE will give Marion Merrell Dow exclusive worldwide rights to develop and market any Alzheimer's drugs discovered during the collaboration between the two firms. Announced July 6, the deal will give Scios milestone payments and royalties in addition to $10.5 mil. in research funding over a five-year period, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said. The agreement does not include a Marion Merrell Dow equity investment in publicly-traded Scios (formerly Cal Bio). Both Scios and MMD will form research teams to focus on developing drugs that prevent the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. Central to the research effort is a transgenic mouse developed by Scios that exhibits amyloid plaques resembling those found in human Alzheimer's patients. The companies will use the mouse model to study beta-amyloid formation and to test new therapies. MMD's previous experience with Alzheimer's includes early research on a drug to enhance cognition and treat depression associated with the disease. The agreement also gives Scios "the first right to review certain cardiovascular or tissue repair products which Marion Merrell Dow decides to out-license from its product portfolio." Marion Merrell Dow is one of several firms to enter into a collaboration with Scios; other partners include Pfizer, Bayer AG, Genentech, Wyeth-Ayerst, DuPont, E. Merck and Kaken Pharmaceuticals. Scios and Pfizer are developing the gastrointestinal hormone insulinotropin for treatment of Type II diabetes, for which two patents have been issued, Scios announced July 9. The patents are owned by Massachusetts General Hospital and licensed exclusively to Scios. Scios also announced July 7 that the waiting period for Federal Trade Commission review of its proposed merger with Baltimore-based Nova Pharmaceutical has expired without any FTC request for additional information. The new company, Scios-Nova Inc., will retain Scios' California headquarters and its President and CEO Richard Casey ("The Pink Sheet" May 18, T&G-9).
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