Adelaide-based Bionomics (ASX:BNO) has announced that it has extended its strategic collaboration with US-based pharmaceutical company Merck & Co, known as MSD in Australia, for the discovery and development of drug candidates for the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain.
The latest agreement builds on a collaboration signed in July 2013 focused on the discovery and development of novel, small molecule drug candidates for the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain utilising Bionomics’ ionX and MultiCore drug discovery platforms.
Separately, Merck will also acquire a US$9 million stake in Bionomics, purchasing 21,659,230 million ordinary shares at A$0.5938, a 29 per cent premium to Bionomics’ closing price on 7 October 2015.
“At Merck & Co., establishing strong long-term external collaborations is central to our business development strategy,” said Dr Iain Dukes, Senior VP, Business Development & Licensing Merck Research Laboratories. “We have been impressed with the progress made by Bionomics to date on both our cognition and pain programs and look forward to advancing these programs further.”
According to Bionomics’ CEO and Managing Director, Dr Deborah Rathjen, “I am delighted to welcome Merck & Co., as a shareholder of Bionomics. This investment provides further validation of our science.”
“The extension of our agreement with Merck & Co., on the discovery and development of novel small molecule candidates for the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain reflects the solid progress made by the Bionomics’ team as we strive to deliver therapies with the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of patients,” added Dr Rathjen.