Celera Announces Clinical Milestone Payment from Merck
ROCKVILLE, Md. & ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Celera, an Applera Corporation business, today announced a clinical milestone payment of $2 million from Merck & Co., Inc. under the cathepsin K inhibitor collaboration agreement between the companies.
This payment recognizes Merckâ€™s advancement of odanacatib (formerly MK-0822), an orally available highly selective inhibitor of the cathepsin K enzyme, into a Phase III clinical trial as a potential treatment for osteoporosis. If this candidate or others developed under the cathepsin K collaboration are advanced further toward commercialization, Celera will receive additional milestone payments and potentially royalties on net sales from Merck.
â€œWe are encouraged by the progress that Merck described recently concerning this promising investigational drug being studied for the treatment of osteoporosis,â€ said Kathy OrdoÃ±ez, president of Celera. â€œWeâ€™re pleased to have made a contribution to Merckâ€™s cathepsin K program for this important disease indication.â€
A multi-year collaboration with Merck to develop small molecule inhibitors of cathepsin K was initiated in November 1996. Celera and Merck extended the research collaboration in December 2001 and Celera continued to provide a series of candidate compounds to support Merckâ€™s research programs. Celeraâ€™s portion of the collaboration was completed in February 2003; since that time, Merck has been responsible for further research and development related to collaboration compounds.
Osteoporosis is a major risk factor for bone fractures and associated disability that affects over 10 million Americans, especially post-menopausal women. The cathepsin K enzyme is believed to play a role in both osteoclastic bone resorption and in degrading the protein component of bone. The inhibition of the cathespin K is a mechanism of action different from that of currently approved osteoporosis treatments such as the bisphosphonates.
About Applera Corporation and Celera
Applera Corporation consists of two operating groups. Celera is primarily a molecular diagnostics business that is using proprietary genomics and proteomics discovery platforms to identify and validate novel diagnostic markers, and is developing diagnostic products based on these markers as well as other known markers. Celera maintains a strategic alliance with Abbott for the development and commercialization of molecular, or nucleic acid-based, diagnostic products, and it is also developing new diagnostic products outside of this alliance. Through its genomics and proteomics research efforts, Celera is also discovering and validating therapeutic targets, and it is seeking strategic partnerships to develop therapeutic products based on these discovered targets. The Applied Biosystems Group serves the life science industry and research community by developing and marketing instrument-based systems, consumables, software, and services. Its customers use these tools to analyze nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), small molecules, and proteins to make scientific discoveries and develop new pharmaceuticals. The Applied Biosystemsâ€™ products also serve the needs of some markets outside of life science research, which we refer to as â€œapplied markets.â€ These include the fields of human identity testing (forensic and paternity testing); biosecurity, which refers to products needed in response to the threat of biological terrorism and other malicious, accidental, and natural biological dangers; and quality and safety testing, such as testing required for food and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Applied Biosystems is headquartered in Foster City, CA, and reported sales of approximately $2.1 billion during fiscal 2007. Information about Applera Corporation, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available at http://www.applera.com, or by telephoning 800.762.6923. Information about Celera is available at http://www.celera.com.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking. These may be identified by the use of forward-looking words or phrases such as â€œbelieve,â€ â€œexpect,â€ â€œintend,â€ and â€œshould,â€ among others. These forward-looking statements are based on Applera Corporationâ€™s current expectations. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a â€œsafe harborâ€ for such forward-looking statements. In order to comply with the terms of the safe harbor, Applera Corporation notes that a variety of factors could cause actual results and experience to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to: (1) the risk that clinical trials of products that Merck does discover and develop will not proceed as anticipated or may not be successful, or that such products will not receive required regulatory clearances or approvals; (2) the uncertainty that Merckâ€™s products will be accepted and adopted by the market, including the risk that that these products will not be competitive with products offered by other companies, or that users will not be entitled to receive adequate reimbursement for these products from third party payors such as private insurance companies and government insurance plans; and (3) other factors that might be described from time to time in Applera Corporationâ€™s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Applera does not undertake any duty to update this information, including any forward-looking statements, unless required by law.