Lycera Enters Into a Collaboration Agreement with Merck

  Lycera Enters Into a Collaboration Agreement with Merck

   Collaboration to Focus Strategically on Novel Treatments for Autoimmune

Business Wire

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- February 12, 2013

Lycera Corp., a biopharmaceutical company pioneering innovative approaches to
developing breakthrough oral medicines to treat autoimmune diseases, today
announced a collaboration agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the
United States and Canada, to discover, develop and commercialize
small-molecule therapies directed to selected novel targets being investigated
for the treatment of a broad range of immune-mediated disorders.

This new relationship between the two companies builds on a previous agreement
announced in 2011 that is focused on therapies targeting the retinoic acid
related orphan receptor (RORγt), the key transcription factor coordinating
both differentiation of T-helper 17 (Th17) cells and production of highly
pro-inflammatory mediators such as interleukin-17 (IL-17).

“We are absolutely delighted to expand our relationship with Merck, a
collaboration that builds on the culture of scientific excellence fostered by
both companies,” said Kathleen M. Metters, Ph.D., Lycera president and chief
executive officer. “Lycera’s proven track record in accelerating early stage
programs to development candidate status holds the potential to fuel Merck’s
early stage pipeline.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Lycera will receive an upfront payment and
research funding, and is eligible to receive in excess of $300 million in
research, development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments. Further
details of the financial terms were not disclosed. Merck is responsible for
clinical development and will have worldwide marketing and commercialization
rights to any products that may be developed as a result of the collaboration.
Lycera is entitled to receive royalty payments, as well as development and
sales milestones, on global sales from any such products.

“There are substantial unmet medical needs and opportunities in autoimmune
disorders, and new targets representing attractive opportunities that we are
very pleased to pursue through our new collaboration with Lycera,” said Rupert
Vessey, D.Phil., FRCP, senior vice president, global scientific strategy,
Merck Research Laboratories.  “Lycera’s innovative capabilities and
productivity, exemplified by the RORγt program on which we currently
collaborate, make them ideal partners for Merck in this area of drug

About Autoimmune Diseases

Serious autoimmune diseases are a major public health problem. An autoimmune
disorder is a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks
and destroys healthy body tissue. There are more than 80 different types of
autoimmune disorders^1, and approximately 50 million Americans, or one in five
people in the U.S., suffer from autoimmune diseases^2.

About Lycera

Lycera Corp. is focused on the discovery and development of selective,
small-molecule immune-modulators for the treatment of patients with autoimmune
diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel
disease. Lycera is developing drug candidates for novel therapeutic targets
that have the potential for first-in-class oral efficacy without the adverse
effects of current standard-of-care antiproliferative and immunosuppressive
agents. Lycera is focused on the emerging areas of cellular bioenergetics and
immune-metabolism to selectively target and silence pathologically activated
cells. Lycera’s leadership team and advisors represent the core thought
leaders in immunology, inflammation, medicinal chemistry and relevant biology
and are responsible for key advances and discoveries in these fields. Visit for more information.

^1 Medline Plus,

^2 American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association,


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Kristie Wallis, 336-774-8666
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