Cerveau Technologies Inc is a US clinical research organisation (CRO) which specialises in molecular imaging.
The Boston-based firm is the result of a partnership betwen Enigma Biomedical Group Inc in France and Sinotau Pharmaceutical Group in China.
With Alzheimer’s disease, an abnormal version of the Tau protein accumulates in the brain to form aggregates called neurofibrillary tangles.
Merck’s investigational agent – MK6240 – is being developed to image these Tau tangles using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning.
A preclinical study of MK6240 reported the imaging agent works well in selecting and binding to neurofibrillary tangles, with Merck and Cerveau currently running a Phase I open-label trial scheduled to end this month.
Now, Cerveau has decided to fully license MK6240 for clinical development and commercialisation, announcing plans for a Phase III programme in 2018.
“There is a critical need for sensitive biomarkers for diagnosis and monitoring of tau pathology in neurodegenerative diseases,” said Darryle Schoepp VP of discovery at Merck Research Laboratories.
“[This is] to allow for more appropriate staging of disease states, and measuring the effect of candidate disease-modifying therapeutics.”
Merck will receive license fees, milestone payments and royalties on worldwide sales.