Merck snags Chimerix antiviral HIV program in $168.5M deal

News | 07. 24. 2012



July 24, 2012

Research Triangle Park, NC-based Chimerix has inked its first big partnership, reaping a $17.5 million upfront payment and a promise of up to $151 million more from Merck ($MRK), which gains rights to a mid-stage antiviral--CMX157--which has prospects as a new addition to future HIV cocktails.

It's a key deal for Chimerix, which has a platform for a lipid-antiviral conjugate technology that promises to rev up existing meds, turning them into chemical antiviral assault weapons that can trump anything that's currently expected of them. In this case, CMX157 is a more potent version of Viread.

"It's a lipid technology that dramatically alters the ADME (absorption,distribution, metabolism, and excretion profile) of the drug, really intracellular drug delivery," CEO Ken Moch tells FierceBiotech.

For Merck, the Chimerix pact is the most prominent move in a flurry of actions on the HIV front. While it was readying the news Merck--an active player in the HIV field--also signed a deal to develop Yamasa's inhibitor EFdA, which has showed some potential against the HIV virus. And Merck is readying a mid-stage study of MK-1439 in treatment naive patients.