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Celera Licenses Oncology Targets to Merck; Retains Theranostics Rights

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Celera said today that it has signed an exclusive, two-year licensing deal with Merck, under which the pharmaceutical giant will have access to up to 10 cancer targets discovered by Celera using its proteomics discovery platform.
The Alameda, Calif.-based subsidiary of Applera said that Merck would use the targets to develop RNAi-based therapeutics.
Celera retains rights under the pact to develop and commercialize related companion diagnostics that are specific to Merck’s therapeutic candidates. Financial terms of the alliance were not disclosed, but Celera said that Merck would pay it a license fee, milestone payments based on development and commercialization goals, and royalties on selected targets.
Merck acquired RNAi drug developer Sirna Therapeutics for roughly $1.1 billion in cash at the end of 2006. Just a couple months before that deal, it also licensed rights to ExonHit Therapeutics’ RNA splicing microarray patent.

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