New Oral Treatment May Help Migraines

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Irish Company Allergan has entered into an agreement to acquire worldwide rights to Merck’s oral calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists, which are being tested in order to treat and prevent migraines.

Allergan will get the rights for a payment of $250 million upfront, $125 million paid after HSR clearance, and $125 million paid next April. The selling company, Merck, will also be able to receive development and/or commercial milestone bonuses, in addition to tiered double-digit royalties on the commercialization of products and programs.

The deal leaves Allergan with complete responsibility of the programs’ development, manufacturing, and commercialization once approval is received. They gain the rights to two programs from Merck. One is MK-1602, which is an oral molecule which provides treatment for migraines. A study on this product is scheduled for 2016. The other program is MK-8031, which still needs to go through two phases in 2016 before being approved.

Previous runs of these projects have been unsuccessful due to raised levels of liver toxicity during patient trials.

“The agreement to acquire exclusive worldwide rights to Merck’s CGRP migraine development program builds on our existing strength in neurosciences and helps position Allergan as a potential leader in the acute treatment of migraine and prevention of migraine for millions of patients,” said David Nicholson, Executive Vice President, Global Brands Research and Development at Allergan.

Migraines, which affect much of the population, and are characterized by intense pain in the head that can last from four to 72 hours. Canadians, who are already spending an average of $12 billion in dental services each year, are excited to see a product that can help with migraines, whose side effects could render someone unable to go to work or school for a day. 2016 will be the deciding year for these products.

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