Staff Correspondent

Two companies will develop drug candidates for metabolic disorders

  • Advinus will receive $75 m for each target
  • Eligible for royalties on sales of products

    MUMBAI: The Tata group promoted Advinus Therapeutics Pvt. Ltd. (ATL) and Merck & Co. of the U.S. have announced the forming of a drug discovery and clinical development collaboration in the area of metabolic disorders.

    The two companies will work together to develop clinically validated drug candidates for metabolic disorders with Merck retaining the right to advance the most promising of these candidates into late-stage clinical trials. Metabolic disorders include diabetes, obesity, hypertension and lipid-related illnesses like high cholesterol.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Advinus will receive an undisclosed upfront payment but can potentially receive milestone payments of up to $75 million for each target included in the collaboration. It is also eligible for royalties on sales of any products that result from the collaboration. While the collaboration will begin with two target programmes from a basket of ten that have been identified, this can include others later.

    Addressing the media here on Thursday, Rashmi Barbhaiya, CEO and Managing Director of Advinus, said, "We will receive the upfront payment soon and since we are starting with two targets, the consideration will be $150 million, including the upfront payment.''

    According to Mr. Barbhaiya, "this collaboration provides an avenue for Advinus to gain access to cutting-edge technologies from Merck while leveraging its India-based discovery and development capabilities.

    Advinus has two sites with the Bangalore site offering contract services and the Pune site focused on collaborative discovery alliances. Another site in Bangalore offers agrochemical contract services.