Merck kGaA has taken two new licenses to beef up its pharmaceuticals pipeline. It has obtained an exclusive worldwide license from San Diego-based Lpath Inc. to develop and commercialize Asonep, a monoclonal antibody now undergoing Phase I clinical trials for various types of cancer. Merck Serono will provide Lpath up to $23 million in up-front payments and R&D funding to support Lpath's completion of the Phase I evaluation. Further payments could amount to another $450 million if Asonep is approved in multiple indications. The other licensing agreement, with Montreal-based Theratechnologies, covers U.S. rights to tesamorelin, a growth hormone-releasing factor analog being investigated in the U.S. for the treatment of excess abdominal fat in HIV patients with lipodystrophy. Theratechnologies will receive $30 million, which includes a license fee of $22 million and an equity investment of $8 million. Total payments could reach $215 million.