Archemix Strikes Deals In Field Of Aptamers | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 85 Issue 25 | p. 37 | Concentrates
Issue Date: June 18, 2007

Archemix Strikes Deals In Field Of Aptamers

Department: Business

The Cambridge, Mass., biotech company Archemix has signed deals with Merck Serono and Takeda Pharmaceutical that underscore growing interest in drugs based on aptamers, single-stranded nucleic acids that have binding properties similar to those of antibodies but are chemically synthesized. Merck Serono, the prescription drug arm of Germany's Merck, has signed on for a multiyear alliance to develop aptamer-based drugs to treat cancer. As part of the deal, Merck will take a $29.8 million stake in Archemix and will retain an option to buy stock in the company if it goes public. Earlier this year, the companies established a research pact to develop cancer treatments. Merck Serono will have access to Archemix' lead-stage aptamer programs in oncology and can choose to develop aptamers against six other targets for cancer and other indications. Separately, Archemix will get $6 million from Takeda to generate aptamer-based product candidates against three targets identified by the Japanese firm. Archemix also will receive R&D funding as well as milestone payments and royalties on sales of any products that result from the collaboration.

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