Allergan Enters Into Licensing Agreement with Merck to Obtain Exclusive Worldwide Rights to CGRP Migraine Development Program
July 7, 2015 6:00 am ET
Small-Molecule Program Includes Commercial Opportunities For the Treatment and Prevention of Migraine
Strengthens Allergan’s Pipeline of Innovative CNS Development Products
Helps Position Allergan as Potential Migraine Treatment Leader, Fuel Long-Term Growth
DUBLIN, IRELAND and KENILWORTH, N.J. – Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN) and Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Allergan will acquire the exclusive worldwide rights to Merck’s investigational small molecule oral calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonists, which are being developed for the treatment and prevention of migraine, subject to expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR).
Under the terms of the agreement, Allergan will acquire these rights for an upfront payment of $250 million, $125 million of which is payable upon HSR clearance and $125 million of which is payable in April of 2016. Merck will additionally be entitled to receive potential development and commercial milestone payments and tiered double-digit royalties based on commercialization of the programs. Allergan will be fully responsible for development of the CGRP programs, as well as manufacturing and commercialization upon approval and launch of the products. Allergan said its 2015 earnings-per-share forecast provided on May 11, 2015 is unchanged as a result of the acquisition. Allergan remains committed to de-levering to below 3.5x debt to Adjusted EBITDA by the end of the first quarter of 2016.
The agreement gives Allergan rights to two CGRP receptor antagonists:
- MK-1602, an oral small molecule antagonist for the acute treatment of migraines. A phase 2 study of MK-1602 has been completed and end of phase 2 discussions with FDA are planned prior to initiating phase 3. A phase 3 study is expected to begin in 2016.
- MK-8031, an oral small molecule antagonist for the prevention of migraines. A phase 2 study of MK-8031 is expected to begin in 2016.
In July 2011, Merck announced that it had discontinued clinical development of an earlier investigational oral CGRP antagonist, Telcagepant (MK-0974), after some patients showed evidence of liver toxicity. The MK-1602 & MK-8031 molecules belong to a different chemical series than Telcagepant, and in clinical trials to date have not shown evidence of liver toxicity. The potential of the CGRP antagonist mechanism has received validation from episodic and chronic migraine studies of injectable candidates in development.
“The agreement to acquire exclusive worldwide rights to Merck’s CGRP migraine development program builds on our existing strength in neurosciences and helps position Allergan as a potential leader in the acute treatment of migraine and prevention of migraine for millions of patients,” said David Nicholson, Executive Vice President, Global Brands Research and Development at Allergan. “With two novel oral therapies in development for treating and preventing migraines, we have the opportunity to provide therapies that could alleviate an intensely debilitating and immobilizing condition for patients worldwide. We look forward to supporting the continued development of these programs and to potentially bringing these new therapies to market.”
“We are pleased that this agreement will enable Allergan to advance these promising molecules for the potential benefit of migraine sufferers, and that Merck will be able to continue to further focus our research and development resources on our priority therapeutic areas,” said Iain D. Dukes, Senior Vice President of Business Development & Licensing, Merck Research Laboratories.
Migraine is a common disorder of the brain that affects approximately 36 million Americans.[i] Migraines are characterized by attacks of intense, usually one-sided, throbbing head pain that can last from four to 72 hours. The pain associated with migraine is frequently accompanied by other symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness and increased sensitivity to light and sound.[ii]
Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN), headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is a unique, global pharmaceutical company and a leader in a new industry model – Growth Pharma. Allergan is focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing innovative branded pharmaceuticals, high-quality generic and over-the-counter medicines and biologic products for patients around the world.
Allergan markets a portfolio of best-in-class products that provide valuable treatments for the central nervous system, eye care, medical aesthetics, gastroenterology, women’s health, urology, cardiovascular and anti-infective therapeutic categories, and operates the world’s third-largest global generics business, providing patients around the globe with increased access to affordable, high-quality medicines. Allergan is an industry leader in research and development, with one of the broadest development pipelines in the pharmaceutical industry and a leading position in the submission of generic product applications globally.
With commercial operations in approximately 100 countries, Allergan is committed to working with physicians, healthcare providers and patients to deliver innovative and meaningful treatments that help people around the world live longer, healthier lives.
For more information, visit Allergan’s website at http://www.allergan.com.
Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships.
Allergan Forward-Looking Statement
Statements contained in this press release that refer to future events or other non-historical facts are forward-looking statements that reflect Allergan’s current perspective of existing trends and information as of the date of this release. Except as expressly required by law, Allergan disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from Allergan’s current expectations depending upon a number of factors affecting Allergan’s business. These factors include, among others, the difficulty of predicting the timing or outcome of FDA approvals or actions, if any; the impact of competitive products and pricing; market acceptance of and continued demand for Allergan’s products; risks associated with acquisitions, mergers and joint ventures; difficulties or delays in manufacturing; and other risks and uncertainties detailed in Allergan’s periodic public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to Allergan’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2015. Except as expressly required by law, Allergan disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
Merck Forward-Looking Statement
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Risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and healthcare legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward healthcare cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.
Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck’s 2014 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).
[i] Migraine Research Foundation. http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/fact-sheet.html
[ii] Migraine Research Foundation. http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine.html