Ra Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has announced that it has received a development milestone payment under its collaboration agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the US and Canada. The milestone payment is associated with the companies' collaboration for a non-complement cardiovascular target with a large market opportunity. Initiated in 2013, this collaboration leverages Ra Pharma's Extreme Diversity™ platform aimed at producing macrocyclic peptides that have the diversity and specificity of antibodies, while retaining the pharmacologic attributes of small molecules.
"Our Extreme Diversity platform allows us to create drug-like peptides with high bioavailability, stability, cell permeability, and potency, potentially filling unmet needs associated with monoclonal antibody, biologic, and peptide therapies," said Doug Treco, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ra Pharma. "As our collaboration with Merck has demonstrated, this chemistry, and the large libraries of drug-like molecules it enables, allow us to rapidly identify orally-available lead peptides, and we are pleased to have delivered these peptides to Merck."
"The advancement of our collaboration with Merck, in parallel with the clinical progress of zilucoplan, our lead internal pipeline candidate in development for generalized myasthenia gravis, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, and other complement-mediated diseases, underscores the power and productivity of our platform for drug discovery," Dr. Treco added.
Under the terms of the agreement, Ra Pharmaceuticals is eligible to earn up to $59 million in additional milestone payments from Merck based upon the achievement of development, regulatory, and commercialization milestones. Ra Pharma is also eligible to receive low-to-mid single digit percentage royalties on any future sales of compounds resulting from the collaboration.