Medarex snares $225M deal for C. diff program

Medarex and Massachusetts Biologic Laboratory will share an upfront payment of $60 million and up to $165 million in milestones from Merck, which is licensing an antibody they discovered for C. difficile infection.

Merck gains worldwide rights to develop and commercialize CDA-1 and CDB-1 while Medarex and MBL--a nonprofit arm of the University of Massachusetts Medical School--are also eligible for royalties on sales. The developer says that a Phase II trial of CDA-1/CDB-1 revealed a statistically significant reduction in infections among the 200 patients recruited for the trial. An oral presentation of the Phase II data is scheduled at the upcoming Digestive Disease Week June 2.

"C. difficile infection is the primary cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitalized elderly patients in developed countries," said Tony Ford-Hutchinson, Ph.D., senior vice president and franchise head, infectious diseases and vaccines, Merck Research Laboratories. "This agreement underscores Merck's ongoing commitment to infectious disease and our strategy of licensing promising candidates with the potential to address serious unmet medical needs." This is Merck's second alliance in two days; just yesterday the pharma company announced a discovery deal with Galapagos NV.

- read Medarex's release