Domain and Merck Serono to develop drugs for Parkinson’s

Merck Serono to develop mGluR4 allosteric modulators

French biopharmaceutical firm Domain Therapeutics has signed an exclusive development and licensing agreement with Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, Germany, to develop metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 (mGluR4) Positive Allosteric Modulator (PAM) drugs targeting Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, Domain Therapeutics will receive €2m in upfront payment and research funding, and is eligible for up to €132m in milestones for the first two products, as well as undisclosed royalties.

‘This agreement is a validation of Domain Therapeutics’ business model of addressing difficult GPCRs and partnering compounds, with a significant deal, at an early stage of development,’ said Pascal Neuville, chief executive of Domain Therapeutics.

‘Merck Serono is known to set very high standards for the compounds it is licensing and this deal is a demonstration of the quality of our work. We anticipate that this agreement will enable us to sign further deals of this kind.’

‘This partnership with Domain Therapeutics reflects our long-term commitment to develop new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases,’ said Bernhard Kirschbaum, executive vice president for global research and development at Merck Serono.

mGluR4 is a glutamate receptor, member of the G-Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) family and is believed to be a potential therapeutic target for Parkinson’s disease.