WORCESTER, Mass., Jan. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Microbiotix, Inc., a privately-held, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel small molecule anti-infective drugs, announced today that it has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.
As part of this agreement, Microbiotix gains worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize MBX-700 and MBX-701 (formerly SCH 900942 and SCH 900188), two non-nucleoside inhibitors of the hepatitis C virus NS5B polymerase. MBX-700 is in Phase I clinical testing and MBX-701 is currently in preclinical development. Merck is eligible for milestone payments during development stages of the candidates, and for royalty payments from any resulting products. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
MBX-700 and MBX-701 are designed to inhibit the replication of the hepatitis C virus by acting on the NS5B polymerase, a clinically validated target that is essential for viral genome replication. In vitro studies have shown MBX-700 to be among the most potent HCV NS5B polymerase inhibitors.
"This agreement with Merck significantly strengthens our antiviral portfolio," said Terry L. Bowlin, PhD, President & CEO, Microbiotix. "We believe MBX-700 and MBX-701 have great potential as potent ingredients in future combination drug therapy. Our preclinical studies have demonstrated high potency while the Phase I clinical study has shown MBX-700 to be safe and well-tolerated."
"Merck remains committed to the development of therapies for the treatment of hepatitis C," said Eliav Barr, vice president, Infectious Diseases Project Leadership and Management, Merck Research Laboratories. "Our discovery programs have identified a number of well-characterized candidates targeting hepatitis C. Outlicensing deals, such as this one, allow Merck to harness potential value from these assets while ensuring they are developed to their full potential."
About Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C, which primarily affects the liver, is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV infection becomes chronic in 75%-85% of cases and, if left untreated, can lead to chronic liver disease, liver cancer or death. It is estimated that 170 million people worldwide are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus.
About Microbiotix, Inc.
Microbiotix, Inc., located in Worcester, MA, is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of proprietary small molecule drugs that target serious infectious diseases. The Company's lead therapeutic compound, MBX-700, is a non-nucleoside inhibitor of the HCV NS5B polymerase. In vitro studies have shown MBX-700 to be among the most potent HCV polymerase inhibitors. MBX-700 is in Phase I clinical testing. MBX-701, a non-nucleoside inhibitor also targeting the HCV NS5B polymerase, is in preclinical development. The Company's second clinical compound, MBX-400, a novel agent for the treatment of human cytomegalovirus, is also in Phase I clinical testing.
SOURCE Microbiotix, Inc.