Metabasis Therapeutics will pocket $5 million on the completion of a new collaboration deal with Merck to develop small molecule therapies that can treat a variety of conditions -- including type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia and obesity -- by activation of an enzyme in the liver called AMP-activated Protein Kinase. Milestones for a successful commercial drug launch would push Metabasis' take to $54 million, with additional indications adding another $20 million in new milestones.
"We have been very impressed with the expertise and professionalism that we have experienced during the joint hepatitis C project we began with Merck in 2004," said Dr. Paul Laikind, chairman, president and CEO of Metabasis. "Combining efforts with Merck scientists on the AMPK project will give us the greatest chance of developing a new drug to treat a devastating group of diseases."
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