Merck Sharpe and Dohme is to expand the scope of its global licence agreement with French pharmaceutical company NicOx in order to develop a new type of treatment.
The two companies' ongoing research programme, which commenced in 2006, has yielded a new approach to nitric oxide (NO) donation, which could be used to create new classes of NO-donating molecular entities with therapeutic potential.
Merck has therefore moved to secure the rights to develop these entities against a number of cardiovascular targets, while NicOx will produce candidate drugs for other indications.
The new agreement will see both firms pay their partner milestone sums based on the future developmental and commercial success of any products created via this new method.
Ennio Ongini, vice-president for research at NicOx, said: "The research collaboration with Merck has been very fruitful and it is as a result of the excellent scientific interaction that this new approach to NO donation was discovered."
Last week, Merck Sharpe and Dohme was granted European regulatory approval for a new indication of its drug Ivemend, which helps to provide relief against chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.