Allergan Picks Up Two Investigational Merck Migraine Therapies for $250 Million
Allergan will pay $250 million to acquire the worldwide rights to two of Merck’s investigational small molecule oral calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists for use against migraines.
Under the deal, announced last week, Allergan will pay $125 million once the licensing agreement clears U.S. antitrust laws, with the remaining $125 million paid to Merck in April 2016. Merck will also receive undisclosed development and milestone payments, along with royalties based on commercialization of the programs, Allergan says.
The deal gives Allergan rights to CGRP receptor antagonists MK-1602 and MK-8031. MK-1602, which treats migraines, has just completed a Phase 2 trial. Allergan says it will discuss that study with the FDA before beginning a Phase 3 study next year. MK-8031, designed to prevent migraines, is expected to enter a Phase 2 study in 2016, the Dublin, Ireland, drugmaker says.
Allergan will be responsible for the development of the CGRP programs going forward and will manufacture and market the drugs following approval and launch.
In July 2011, Merck scrapped development of an earlier investigational oral CGRP antagonist, MK-0974, after some patients in a Phase 2a study showed evidence of liver toxicity, forcing the firm to delay an NDA, which it eventually never filed. The current CGRP antagonists have a different chemical makeup and have shown no evidence of liver toxicity, Allergan says.
The agreement — and last Monday’s acquisition of developmental dry eye disease devicemaker Oculeve for $125 million — continue a flurry of deals that also saw last month’s purchase of double-chin and male-pattern baldness drugmaker Kythera Biopharmaceuticals for $2.1 billion. — Kellen Owings