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Published on: December 18, 2012
by Tess Stynes for 4-Traders:
Merck & Co. reached a collaboration, license and supply agreement with General Electric Co.’s health-care business for use of a GE Healthcare investigational imaging agent to support the pharmaceutical company’s lead drug candidate to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Merck’s investigational Alzheimer’s treatment–called MK-8931–targets a substance in the brain called amyloid. Scientists have hypothesized that the buildup of amyloid in the brain plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease. A number of major pharmaceutical companies have been looking for a treatment to stop the progression of the disease, which impairs memory and cognitive skills in the elderly.
Under the agreement GE Healthcare will supply Flutemetamol to help select patients for clinical trials and to evaluate the imaging agent used in positron emission tomography–or PET–scans as a companion diagnostic tool.
Further terms of the collaboration weren’t disclosed.
“There is a serious unmet need for a reliable method for measuring beta amyloid deposits to help physicians diagnose Alzheimer’s disease at its different stages and study its progression,” said Darryle Schoepp, head of neuroscience and ophthalmology at Merck Research Laboratories. “This agreement will allow us to employ an investigational imaging agent to help identify patients who might benefit from an anti-amyloid therapy and enable clinical evaluation” of MK-8931.”
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