Drug deal

BioXell, the Italian biopharmaceutical company, has signed an exclusive, worldwide license agreement with Merck for development of TREM related therapeutic and diagnostic products.

TREM, an acronym for Triggering Receptors Expressed on Myeloid Cells, is a novel class of receptors that have been implicated in many diseases. TREM-1 is believed to play a key role in sepsis.

Under the agreement, Merck obtains exclusive rights to develop BioXell’s initial product aimed at TREM-1 that is currently in preclinical development. Merck and BioXell will also collaborate on the further research of other TREM receptors.

Under the terms of the agreement, BioXell will receive an up-front payment and, in addition, could receive as much as $150 million in milestone payments, including $55.5 million for the successful development of the first product, and additional milestone payments for its further development as well as the development of follow-on products.

Spun-out from Roche in January of 2002, BioXell is a private company focusing on the discovery and development of new treatments for urological disorders.