Cerecor Acquires Rights to NR2B Receptor Antagonist From Merck

Cerecor Acquires Rights to NR2B Receptor Antagonist From Merck 
BALTIMORE, MD -- (Marketwired) -- 04/19/13 --  Cerecor Inc, a
neuroscience biotech company that develops therapies that have the
potential to make a difference in diseases with high unmet medical
needs, today announced that it has acquired exclusive, worldwide
rights from Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada,
to develop and commercialize MK-0657, a small molecule NMDA receptor
subunit 2B (NR2B) antagonist for all human indications, including
There is a growing body of evidence to support the hypothesis that
NMDA receptors are involved in the pathology of depression, including
reports in the literature of rapid improvement of depression
following intravenous administration of ketamine, an NMDA
antagonist.MK-0657 is a novel potent and selective NR2B antagonist,
initially developed by Merck for the treatment of Parkinson's
"MK-0657 is a potential first-in-class, best-in-class, oral
medication that is complementary to existing treatments in depressed
patients who have failed to respond to available therapies. We are
particularly interested in the potential to rapidly reduce depressive
symptoms, including suicidal ideation, in these severely affected
patients," stated Dr. James Vornov, Cerecor's Sr. VP of Clinical
Development and Regulatory Affairs. 
Under the terms of the agreement, Cerecor will immediately assume
full development and commercialization responsibilities of MK-0657.
License consideration includes milestone payments and royalties
consistent with clinical stage licenses in neuroscience. Cerecor
anticipates completing the technology transfer activities by mid-2013
and thereafter initiating clinical trials. 
"We are delighted that Merck has chosen Cerecor to help realize the
value of an innovative asset such as MK-0657," added Dr. Blake
Paterson, Cerecor's co-founder and CEO. "Patients and families who
have struggled with severe refractory depression and suicidality
easily recognize the need for more effective treatments, and we will
develop MK-0657 with the purpose that befits such an important unmet
"Merck is pleased to sign this agreement with Cerecor as part of its
ongoing out-licensing strategy. Cerecor has established scientific
and clinical expertise in the area of treatment resistant depression,
an area of significant unmet medical need," said Dr. David Michelson,
Vice President of Clinical Neuroscience and Ophthalmology, Merck
Research Laboratories. 
About Cerecor 
Cerecor Inc is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery,
development and commercialization of prescription pharmaceuticals
whose primary activity is in the human nervous system. We focus on
targets or technologies that have demonstrated human proof of
concept, and for which biomarkers could be used to steer early
clinical development. We are a Delaware corporation, based in
Baltimore and co-founded in April 2011 by Drs. Solomon Snyder,
Barbara Slusher, Blake Paterson and Mr. Isaac Blech. Cerecor is
focused on translational medicine -- the accelerated transfer of
technology from the laboratory to early human trials, with the
mission of commercializing therapeutics that make a difference.
Media Contact:
Michelle Avery
MacDougall Biomedical Communications
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