The Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) and the German chemical and pharmaceutical company Merck today signed an agreement in Madrid to collaborate in the area of cancer drug development. This global option and license agreement will encourage the development and commercialisation of new compounds in the field of oncology.
With this agreement, the CNIO has granted to Merck exclusive rights to develop and commercialise their new inhibitors of the ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) kinase. In exchange, Merck will make an initial payment along with other potential income of up to nearly 19 million euros, as well as royalties on net sales.
This agreement is the result of Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, evaluating a group of ATR inhibitors developed entirely by the CNIO, via its Experimental Therapies Programme and the Genomic Instability Group, led by Joaqu-n Pastor and -scar Fern-ndez-Capetillo, respectively.
Carmen Vela, Spanish Secretary of State for R&D, who signed the agreement as President of the CNIO Board of Trustees, expressed her satisfaction "at this public-private partnership between a world class research centre and one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world." The Secretary of State underlined the need for "increasing involvement of the private sector in all aspects of Spanish R&D including execution and funding."
"Part of Merck's commitment to oncology includes the focus on strategic agreements that allow us to foster a constant flow of innovations," said Andree Blaukat, Head of Translational Innovation Platform Oncology for Merck Serono. "We are convinced that working with like-minded organizations, like the CNIO, will further strengthen our efforts towards finding the next generation of breakthrough therapies."