Merck, Portola to Develop Oral Anticoagulant for Cardiovascular Disease


July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009 – Merck & Co. Inc. and Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc. this week signed an exclusive global collaboration and license agreement for the development and commercialization of betrixaban, an investigational oral factor Xa inhibitor anticoagulant currently in phase II clinical development for the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (SPAF).

In return for an exclusive worldwide license to betrixaban, Merck will pay Portola an initial fee of $50 million. Portola is eligible to receive additional cash payments totaling up to $420 million upon achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercialization milestones, as well as double-digit royalties on worldwide sales of betrixaban, if approved. Merck will assume all development and commercialization costs, including the costs of phase III clinical trials. Portola has retained an option to cofund phase III clinical trials in return for additional royalties and to copromote betrixaban with Merck in the U.S.

Betrixaban is an oral anticoagulant agent that directly inhibits factor Xa. It is specifically designed for chronic, once-a-day treatment with a long half-life. Betrixaban is minimally excreted through the kidneys and is the only new factor Xa inhibitor currently being studied in patients with severe and moderate renal impairment without dose adjustment.

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